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Dissolv

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About Dissolv

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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
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    I heart Glorantha

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  1. Dissolv

    Hiding Chaos

    This has always been a problem for me. If nothing else, you'd think that a Divination would do the trick if a Storm Bull accuses someone. I mean, you can detect an assassin at a moment's notice if you are Humakt, how are you hiding a cosmic taint from the followers of the Deity who are on the look out for it? So far the best I have come up with is that Storm Bull worshipers just don't hang out around the Tula. Nor are there typically chaos problems. Those things both interact away from the Tula in most cases. In the event that Chaos comes knocking, the Storm Bull initiates start to show back up, hunting it. This limits Chaos to the wilds, Chaos spawning grounds, and sometimes a secret evil. This kind of seems in line with the published material, so /crosses fingers.
  2. Also interested. This sounds really cool! What is Ylmalian Mysticism?
  3. I"m actually very happy that the current version of RQ limits who gets it. That definitely makes it more valuable. And I have no sympathy for a PC who thinks that a War God is "inferior" because he lacks spell X. Dismiss Magic is a thing, as is Lightwall. Gifts are not a small matter either. The party takes on a warband of Yelmalian Initiates? Great. 2 of them are Spear Masters thanks to a gift. Players buff up with Truesword, Shield, what have you? Great. The Yelmalians dismiss all that down, then get to work with their spears. Give everyone Shield, and it becomes less a thing. Humakt is tops for War God right now because he has Truesword, Sword Trance, and Shield, plus gifts.
  4. If you are actively GM'ing right now with new players, I would definitely start with mostly physical attacks, but mix in some missile attacks. When they start to realize that they have a "hole" in their game that could be problematic to fatal, they will likely try to address that somehow. If no player is actively working the spell system, then spring an opponent on them with at least one guy who prefers to hold off and cast annoying spells like Demoralize, and a couple that happen to know Bladesharp, and possibly Shimmer or Protection. Nomad adversaries seem about right here. This should prompt them to either step up their Battle Magic game themselves, invest in Countermagic and/or Dispel Magic, or possibly attempt to try to skip right to Rune Magic. Whatever they try, after a concept has been introduced as a possibility, be sure to really exploit the power of that concept in subsequent encounters (when appropriate, of course). Pick a fight with a Daka Fal shaman/priest and you are going to get a face full of spirits and magic. He/she may not swing a weapon once, but the players should be in jeopardy immediately. If they go after Elves, volley's of missiles, backed by all manner of spirit magic is the almost certain response. And very likely from ambush, unless the PC's have exceptional skills. As the players start to react to the varied forms of attack and defense, you can watch what they do and learn from them as well. Very few things are as inventive as a player given an open world, a home culture to fall back on, and a difficult problem between him and a mcguffin. I'm willing to bet that most GM's here who have a few campaigns under their belt learned half their tricks from their players -- or more like 75%.
  5. I haven't looked it up for RQ:G, but it used to be a successful parry versus a natural weapon = roll damage against the attacker. It was a high risk move, and it was hard to swallow 30 trollkin attacking, lemming like against extremely powerful opponents, PC or NPC. Trollkin just don't have that kind of morale. Now Lunar hell demons.....maybe there you have something 😉
  6. Yikes, you are looking for a very large amount of information without apparently having digested the core rules -- which are very crunchy by today's standards. However that's the plus, not a minus. There are more things that can be done with RQ combat that in most other game systems, making it more dramatic, and tactical, at the price of complexity and speed. My suggest is to simply roll up a couple of characters and an opponent or two and fight them. Try different things to see if they work. It should all start to come into focus. The best rule is to have the NPC's lead with what they do best. If they have a lot of magic, good armor, and aren't particularly impressive stat wise, then sure, trying to buff up while defending makes sense. A group of trolls may just wade into the PC's, trusting to their very high damage attacks to make an impact. But that's circumstantial too. Did the players surprise them? Is it a prepared ambush? Remember that magic is highly visible in Glorantha, so having a 20 man bandit group all buffing for three rounds , and then jumping out within 10 feet of the players may involve a LOT of rolls or just be unrealistic. Casting a lot of multimissile/speed darts at 100 yards distance, however, could be quite different. However in a big battle situation, or before a duel, you can expect the maximum possible buffing to be thrown. That's because there is a lot of stand off distance and plenty of time to cast. Most "exploring the Big Rubble" type fights just don't have that, and typically I see the players wade into melee while casting. But other times they see the bad guys coming and can't shake them after an extended time running around in Old Town, so they might turn to face their pursuers, and have a couple of rounds to cast spells. Circumstances dictate a lot of this. Any designated buffer, however, is likely to just hang back and power someone else up, normally the leader, given even half a chance. That's his combat role. With the players, I often see a shaman doing this, burning a large amount of magic points on the physical fighters to save them time. In return they try to keep the shaman from melee if they can, even taking on multiple opponents. Being wholly unskilled in melee is a luxury for the players, as the bad guys often out number them, but they do also have the option of hiring a bodyguard or other NPCs to help fill out numbers if they are going somewhere particularly dangerous, such as the Big Rubble. Rune level = Rune Lord or Priest. The lines have blurred there somewhat lately, but it isn't about a number of Rune points. There are a whole host of things you can expect from an opponent at that level. This includes societal support in the form of bodyguards/aides, magic artifacts, high quality armor and weaponry, and so on. This person isn't just someone with a lot of "spells", this is somebody important to a society, and they are going to fight to keep them. Two sides are both surprised. There is going to be a fight. The players elect to cast Bladesharp and such, but the bad guys are Morokanth slavers looking to take prisoners, let's say. They all know Demoralize for this reason, and all cast it the first round, looking to soften up their opponents. If they catch half the group, may as well try again next round for the other half, since it now clear that no one bothered to cast Countermagic. If the Morokanth don't all know Demoralize, obviously they can't do this. And a random group of say, Prax nomads, simply may not have this level of organization, but they will certainly know *something*, and will do whatever that thing is. Bison riders will charge first chance they get (3d6 damage bonus on the lance, who needs spirit magic?), while a group of Sable Riders may have a couple of options to choose from, and may charge the party if they look weak (or are few in number), while they may hold off and cast buffing spells if the players have iron weapons, lots of metal armor, lots of Runes of various war gods, or other tell tale signs that they are truly dangerous individuals. Nope. That's part of being the heroic Bronze Age. There is nothing "normal" and no "truce". There is no "knightly code" that anyone has to, or expected to follow. Like I said, duels may allow (or even require) maximum preparation. Battles likely give everyone time for maximum preparation. But adventuring encounters can vary tremendously in circumstance and scope. Also the players themselves may have a preference. I have known some players that just refuse to engage without at least one cast, and others whole barely pause to smite chaos in the face. How the circumstance, the players actions, and the NPC's actions interact will determine how combat starts. You own the supplement that does that -- Rune Masters. https://www.chaosium.com/rune-masters-pdf/ They do vary greatly, and you need to make them up individually because of this. Sample: Rune Lord of Humakt. 95% Broadsword, 115% Two handed sword. 1d4 damage bonus. 18 POW 8 points of Rune magic, knows Sword Trace, True Sword, and Sever Spirit. Prefers to cast Shield 4 immediately, then Truesword if he cannot penetrate his opponent's armor on a hit. Will hold Sever Spirit for an opponent that he is having trouble defeating, or a highly dangerous spell caster that he cannot physically reach. Iron armor in all locations, iron Broadsword with Bladesharp matrix. Has undergone one heroquest giving him 8 hit points in every location. 32 points of stored pow, one 16 power crystal and one 18 point Cult Spirit. Knows healing 6, bladesharp 4, dispel magic, befuddle (which he uses to force one on one fights). Has two powerful initiate bodyguards sworn to defend him to the death, and accompany him at all times. (80% skills, 15 pow, 3 points Rune magic each, bronze metal armor everywhere). One of them is his lover and if she is killed, he will immediately use Sever Spirit on her killer. Will divine intervention to have Humakt block critical hits on himself, and her. So this guy is Rune level, and you now know more or less what he can do (without total specifics, such as everyone's spirit magic). He is going to buff the first round while closing -- Rune magic is fast. The second round and on he fights physically unless blocked by armor/protection/shield. Then he buffs himself up more with truesword to get around that, and will only result to Sever Spirit in dire straights. Being a follower of Humakt, he cannot use Divine Intervention to bring anyone back from the dead, but has learned to use it against critical hits, which should make him extremely difficult to defeat. One or both of his followers may know dispel magic and healing, and prefer to keep him up and running over attacking, given the choice. The two bodyguards are really an absolute minimum, and he may be found leading an entire tribe into battle. He can also be challenged to a one on one duel, if the PC's wish to fight him alone...... There is no such thing as a "Danger Ranking" in RQ. There is only the opponent, what they can do, and what the players judge they can deal with. They do not deserve pity if they challenge this guy (obvious rune lord with bodyguards, iron armor, death cult). He will kill them if he can. Runequest combat in particular is meant to dangerous, and a big part of that is that they players do not always know exactly what they are getting into. This works both ways too, and many a nomad has had the tables turned by a PC who was more powerful than he appeared. The big job as a GM in RQ is to flesh the world out enough so that the players can learn these things. Everyone knows that getting lanced by a Bison rider sucks -- but the players may not realize what 1d10 + 3d6 will do to a RQ body. Let them learn. There are no "levels", no "introductory dungeons", and not even a requirement to fight anything. They don't get exp that way, for instance. Combat does not have to be to the death either. Again, the bronze age theme where everything isn't total war all the time like it could be against the "Dark lord and his orc minions". You can surrender to trolls and offer ransom. You can be defeated by your Yelmalio rival and he just taunts you and lets you go. But a word about Chaos.....that IS the enemy. No rule necessarily applies to any of them. They don't take captives (you hope!), and the players should learn to treat Chaos not as a bad guy, but as a cosmic horror, and evil blight on creation, and something that even otherwise hated opponents can band together to battle.
  7. Combat is complex enough that you have to make generalizations. However..... I deal with this by keeping the opponents at a stable power level. If the Rune level PC's wind up in a fight with Trollkin, they are the same general power level as they were when the players started, unless some plot reason. So the players will almost certainly smash them easily. Similarly if the players decide to bite off more than I think that they can chew, it is on their own heads. Sometimes a noble defeat is good Role Play. Low level opponents will basically do one thing. Trollkin will try to stab you with spears, basically. Street gang members may know a (very) little magic, but you are looking at physical attacks, normally with daggers, but sometimes a thrown rock or such. This is mainly because this class of opposition simply isn't capable of doing more with any real potential for success. Low/Mid will start to mix things up. This would be angry Orlanthi farmers in a raid situation, a fairly strong baboon tribe, or an outlaw gang. They will have one or more specialists (magic, ranged attack, mounted attack), and likely can fight with missile barrage and in melee in some fashion. Likely better one than the others, but the players should expect some bow fire, javelins, and disruption spells mixed in with the broadsword attacks. This type of opposition is still mainly limited by what it actually can do, as opposed to tactics. However just about every opponent should have some type of culturally common battle magic. Bladesharp, Protection, and Speedart seem to be the most universally important. But the emphasis of the spells is to augment the generally weak skills and damage potential of the opponents, as opposed to defeat the PC's. Sometimes this can be switched around, such as a physically weak dryad who can befuddle the PC's with a good % chance. If one of the PC's has a 100% Broadsword, the Orlanthi farmer is more likely to give up or run away after realizing that he is outmatched, rather than try to circle around and throw javelins. (How many javelins does he actually have, anyway? I am thinking zero to one, and he threw what he had before melee anyhow.) Then it turns up a serious notch. You are starting to look at more organized opposition at the next level, and that's where Runequest combat really becomes Runequest combat. Soldiers, Dark Trolls, opposing adventuring bands, Lunars, all start here. This group should have much better equipment, skills to back them up, and about the same level of Spirit and Rune magic as the party. On top of that they will almost certainly have one leader type, and should use magic very intelligently. Trolls should throw Darkness spells liberally, Yelmalians should be using Lightwall, whatever is culturally appropriate should be pulled out and used immediately. The enemy may have been trained to Dispel enemy magic. In particular I have professional soldiers do this. Magic is just part of fighting and that is their stock in trade. There may be a "big damage" specialist with either a two handed weapon, or Fireblade, or some means to dishing out a lot of damage. There should be at least one person with stored power. Typically he is the leader and may either enhance himself with multiple spells, or spend the early part of the fight throwing dispels. Rune magic should be used in any combat that is serious. Magic that is offensive should be used on a large scale when appropriate. Be it befuddle, or disrupt, three or four casts while the players are casting Bladesharp and Protection can make a world of difference in a fight. If the players cannot protect themselves from magical attacks, then just keep doing it! Ransom exists for a reason. So this is the point where the players are actually against "real" opposition for the first time. It should more or less mirror what they have learned to do against weaker opponents, but now they have to deal with it. Rolling up a warband or two and making them different in advance helps here a LOT. If they players don't like all that magic hammering onto them, then they can learn Countermagic, Dispel Magic, Shield, or how to ambush. What limits this group is not the tactics, more so it is again a case of what they actually can do. For instance if there is a magical barrage and possibly buffing contest, these guys should be out of Pow, as most of them shouldn't have stored power, more than a Rune point or two, and about 11 Pow on average. Skills can be all over, but 65%-75% combat skill seems reasonable. That level of parry skill, backed by armor (metal in the torso and head), can stymie the players for a very long period of time, PC growth wise. Normally the players will start to recognize serious opposition and hammer through it with raw power. The fastest means to that power is Rune Magic. Which is where the next level starts. Rune level opposition is very difficult to make generic statements about, as all the cults are so amazingly different. However ANY Rune level opponent is, and should be, a very serious encounter, as well as a painfully difficult foe to dispatch. Rune Lord Divine intervention alone can be near immortality, although I generally play it to remove a defeated Rune Lord from the field of play if they have been defeated once (after all they may be "killed" again). But sometimes the stakes are high enough that they just use it to keep going. Add on all the various Rune spells, likely hood of stored Power, good equipment, devoted followers, allied spirits and summoned creatures, and of course high fighting skills for a war like cult, and you've got yourself a knock down, drag out contest worthy of an adventure climax. The main problem with these guys, is that the powerful one's can defeat you in a variety of ways. They can dispel your best magics, protect themselves from your attacks and spells, can take you out with physical attacks, magical attacks, and sometimes even spiritual attacks. So where ever the players show weakness, that's what these level of opponents should be going for. If an initiate level Lunar in one of these retinues casts Mindblast and catches out a player with it, the next round at least half of the Lunars should have the air swarming with Rune magic the next turn. So really my answer to you isn't to base the challenge level on the player's capability AT ALL. Base it instead on the capabilities of the opponents as you see them in your story. The players have the advantage of using the same tools over and over, and so tend to get good with them. As GM you need to look at the opposition in a similar way, and try to make them do what makes sense for them. And some just won't have an answer for the 100% skill PC. Others will try to weaken the PC with Demoralize, or Dullblade, and still others will just cast Protection and Bladesharp on themselves to try to match the PC. If they have access to magic, or missiles that can bring him down, well plenty of Vikings die to arrows or being outnumbered in the Sagas. Three bandits casting Disruption every round can tear apart a swordsman very fast too. The main thing is who is teaching all of these bandits Disruption, and also training them to work together so well? Maybe they are brothers.....
  8. I've done it all the ways. Full on everything painted. No figures or even drawings at all. In between type representations such as you have put (pen and graph paper, some bottle caps fighting an eraser.) People seem to fill in with their own imagination who and what they are seeing, which is great. I mean, a game of imagination is kind of the point. However RQ takes place within Glorantha, which is so far out of the norm these days that people seem to struggle not seeing Tolkien elves and dwarves and ents. Unless you are working with some veterans, I find that having the miniatures really rams home a couple of points. Like this is the bronze age, as a major one. Or that the fantasy races, or indeed the landscape is much out of the ordinary from what is imagined by the average new player. This sort of "fantasy shock" is a pretty big deal I find, and getting a new player over the hurdle and actually buying into it helps a lot. Otherwise you get stuck on "there are Ducks in this game? What?" The miniatures help that. Beyond the setting, I do find that a lot of times some of the severe consequences of RQ combat in particular are best demonstrated with representation. That way you can see where the Shaman is in case he needs to use a touch spell -- such as Healing 6 if everyone else is out of Rune and/or magic points. It matters, and it is just easier to move the representation where he needs to go, or to point out that the Shaman actually isn't near the character who just had a limb hacked off. It helps with the flow of a pretty drawn out combat system, frankly. Once you go decide to go painted figures for representation, you may as well paint them decently. 🙂 As an important note, these days I deliberately vary the use of figures depending on the session. Big military battle? Break out some movement trays because we are doing this! Standard adventure -- some use of figures, but a huge amount of the evening will be spend talking, interacting, and dealing with social situations that crop up. The figures are handy then to put players on a map if they split up, or to show who is going in whose group. Big Heroquest? Imagination time, and the figures stay into the box. GM exposition of the utter strangeness now must carry the day. It's all just part of the tricks of being a GM. Dissolv
  9. Definitely. Runequest is a crunchy mechanics type system and the visual aides are important.
  10. Everyone in the game has their own hero cycle. From the lowliest stickpicker to the the most exalted chieftain. In fact it can help tremendously to get a stratification of social layers involved in an adventure. That way there are different intrinsic viewpoints on the "rightness" of various outcomes. It's too easy on the players to have them all just be Thanes with limited, detached duty to the clan. Traditional D&D style "murder hobo's" rob the campaign of much of its dynamic tension, plot hooks, and frankly mainly just lead to players gaming only for the Monty Haul type moments. Anchoring the players to the social community is the best way to create tangled plot lines for them to solve, make the world seem realistic, and take a step beyond seeing how many Dark Trolls the players can kill with a single swing. (Although that has it's moment -- just not every time!) In a recent adventure the party was forced by their tribal ring (who were motivated by Divination) to take along a lowly stickpicker on a dangerous journey to Larnste's footprint. The player was handed a character with no armor, no weapons other than throw rock, no magic, and no social status. Most of the time he tagged along trying to find a way to be useful with his decent stealth and outdoorsy skills, but when they got to the Kitori tribe, the players were gifted a bag of anti-chaos rocks. No one else had throw rock, so he wound up being the man of the hour when it came time to confront the scorpion men in the footprint. Later that adventure he got roped into the Hill of Gold heroquest, and wound up (with some help from a friendly and annoyed to be there shaman) defeating his Yelmalian opponent, and stealing his Hoplite fighting skills. None of that had to happen that way (it was not GM fiat), but it was a possible outcome depending on the players. Later sessions saw him trying to live up to his newly found acceptance and social status, as well as live up to his wife's expectation as some kind of Orlanthi blessed one. This wound up getting him in more trouble than he ever had as a stickpicker. "More money, more problems". The chieftain player is at near the top of the totem pole for the Orlanthi, which means that he's really in a pickle! He probably is looking for any chance to get away and adventure to solve the various problems hammering at him from his clan (and the other local clans, and the tribe, and the outsiders, and his relatives, etc.) Doing so is pretty Orlanthic, so why not? Dissolv
  11. I run each battle differently. Depending on the mood you want or the story you are trying to convey. The players can be part of a larger army unit, and just trying to do well in the eyes of their clan and survive. Worms eye point of view here, and they should only be told what is happening in their little corner. Always great POV to surprise them with a sudden disintegration of their army as a whole, so they can have to run and hide, Miyamoto Mushashi style. The players can be part of a ritual or heroquest that impacts the outcome. This is *very* Glorantha, but also a bit over done. It is generally best when the players are moderately powerful, and have a plot hook or two from past adventures (like their evil arch nemesis is helping the opposing army in some magical way.) Going to get allies and relieving besieged friendlies I would put in this category. Leadership positions. There a couple of Conan stories where he is leading an army, even one where he is given one due to a prophesy, despite being a stranger. When the players are in command I bust out To The Strongest! and we play a game right then and there. Simon has a history of supporting Glorantha games, and his mass battle game is about an hour to resolve, so it fits within a gaming session. The players are various types of modifiers depending on what they can do. Final option: The players have become so powerful that you can straight up play it out as a massive RQ combat. Generally for advanced parties with extremely powerful PC's, they can act like a Hero counter from Dragon Pass and break phalanxes, challenge enemy champions, or just beat down literally dozens of ordinary soldiers. Sometimes this is great as a way to demonstrate to the players just how far they have come. It happens a lot of times that the player's opponents grow in power to provide a challenge, so sometimes it creeps up on the players just how far they have come since the start of a campaign. Keeping the basic solider's static in power is a way to re-ground the players and let them feel like hot sh!t for a while. Also the reason why they get asked to clear out the Vampire Regiment rumored to be training in the mountains two days after the battle. 🙂
  12. I started my most recent campaign in 1555. This has proven to be a surprisingly good choice. The very dawn of the Hero Wars age just allows a lot of game time for the characters to develop in different ways. Without the omni-present Lunar occupation of most campaigns rushing things, and a generally lower power level of the pre-Hero Wars time, the players have a ton of options left wide open. Similarly, if you want to showcase the Telmori or Dwarves, or Golden Horse People as the main antagonists, this is an easy period to do so. There is natural tension between the "business as usual" and the "The Lunars are a coming threat" Orlanthi that drives role playing options, especially if the players must work against existing feuds to combat a future problem. You get to see more day to day life in Sartar/Dragon Pass, much like the King of Dragon Pass computer game. Phargentes is like a Tarshite Darth Vader. Fanatic Lunar, expansionist, kills enemy Kings left and right (including two from Sartar!), nearly unstoppable physically by the unprepared Orlanthi. He is an excellent villain, and easy to present as someone who can be foiled, but not killed. The whole Elmal worshipers convert to Yelmalio happens in this time frame. Having my players encounter this situation in progress really was something new and unexpected for them. One player was an Elmal worshipper for added bonus. In the Hill of Gold Heroquest he wound up on "team Sunshine" with a bunch of Yelmalians. Good times (for the GM). You retain, with few modifications, a lot of classic settings. Prax is still Prax. Pavis has just opened up -- so significant post apocalypse type potential there. Snakepipe Hollow is the same pit it ever was, and so on. Enough time is allowed to have generational play, as in Pendragon. Dissolv
  13. Okay, had to save the photos from Photobucket. Generic Barbarians are easy to sub in, and there are many, many types of dress, etc. Orlanthi are easy. The other things take some work. Dissolv
  14. I have a tremendous interest in metal figures, and buy in quantity. Ah, pics got photobucket'ed. Looking for work around. So I sent DishDash an email months and months ago with a notation of what I'd like to see first, but mostly to express interest. No reply. While it is cool that they are now a possible avenue for figures, it is not so great that any future output will be with an extended timeline. And honestly Barbarians can be had from historical figures so easily that Orlanthi are the least needed figures in general (although I would to see, and would certainly buy well scuplted ones). I'm just not getting a vibe of "take my money" from DishDash, which is a real shame. Dissolv
  15. I assume we should regard this partnership as dead then? Dissolv
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