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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
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    Glorantha RQ
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    Shadows Dance
  • Blurb
    I heart Glorantha

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  1. I like that Issaries has that kind of power if given enough strategic time to build up. Note that he needs an extended period of peace and also ideally travel to different cultures to get the maximum build up though. Peace is needed because if everyone is burning through their RP's in a big "Red Moon and White Bear" type situation, the trading opportunities drop to nil. Travelogue type adventures are necessary because you want to encounter the broadest spectrum of cults, and maximize your trading opportunties with them, which means markets, building friendly relations with exotic tribes, proving your faithfulness/worthiness to them, etc. FWIW I also tend to give Lhankor Mhy a lot of plot perks at the higher end play as well. Issaries comes with its own power -- and don't forget the ultimate power of cold hard cash. Lhankhor Mhy on the other hand I always feel needs a bit of something or other to really be a top tier cult, and it kind of should be, for a certain style of play. Has anyone had a player run with one since the sorcery inclusion?
  2. I definitely would not infer that, certainly not from such limited evidence. They just have a history of more chaotic "big bad fights" due to the nature of the campaign. The duels and undead encounters that they have had were very manageable without the party trying to build "Voltron". Zombies and skeletons are well within the power of the party to deal with individually. The last encounter with Lunars for example, the Humakti lasted several strike ranks before finding himself Mindblasted out of the fight. So the Lunars definitely felt that he was more of a priority target, which made him the very first to get dropped. Hooray for more powerful. Circumstances matter though, and no one had any time to get prepped in that particular fight. From a "cold" start even the most powerful characters are vulnerable. Note that this is the exact circumstance where the players have to choose if they burn Rune points on Shield or not. If they do, they are great for the fight. But can they do that for every fight that they come across? There was a horde of Scorpion men to deal with after the Lunars in this situation - the party's true target, and no chance to go rest up anywhere, so even MP spent were gone. Thinking back on it, that was the fight that one of the Storm Bulls (there are two) managed to fumble three times, so he didn't exactly cover himself in glory either. Similarly, after the big Broo cave fight that I referenced earlier, they were summoned to the Heroquest "the Hill of Gold", and had to deal with prepared and ready Yelmalio worshipers. Not the same day, but before RP recovery was possible. There is just a limit to the number of times that the PC's can pre-buff to their maximum extent, and they also need to decide between spreading the love around versus trying to empower a single one of their party. It is worth noting that the Storm Bull followers have little to no responsibilities other than to fight Chaos, so are normally at full RP for those occasions. They even sponge off the other players in the winter phase. The Humakti is constantly called upon to fight duels, lead battles and raids, act as champion, fight Undead, fight rivals, fight Chaos, etc. Storm Bull followers are thematically much closer to the murder-hobo archetype, and this is tolerated because they do the one job that no one wants to do.
  3. Totally fair. And if a campaign goes on long enough, the players are going to get their hands on stored power. It's just going to happen in Glorantha, unless you are deliberately running a lower powered campaign and take some pains to keep it that way. I'm still a fan of the whole "multiple serious encounters back to back" strategy for the big boys. To answer a previous post -- My players always, and I mean ALWAYS use the Storm Bull. There is just too much that can go wrong with all kinds of goofy, unpredictable chaos features. Automatic weapon breaks, automatic fumbles, explodes when dies, acid spit, fire breath. The routine is this: Everyone buffs the Storm Bull on Round 1. And I mean everyone, even the Humakti (usually Truesword if applicable but often Shield). The Storm Bull PC goes berserk, and careens into the horde/big bad. Everyone handles crowd control while trying to keep within healing range of the Storm Bull. If it is really bad, or if it is going too well, the party pulls back, leaving the ultra-enhanced Storm Bull to his fate. The last time my players went into a Broo warren, the amped-up Storm Bull was so effective that they literally could not keep pace with him, despite him losing his arm while surrounded by a horde of foes. A quote from a player: "I thought a Storm Bull without a Great Axe was a waste, but that really worked out!" If he wins, great. If he loses, they try to Divine Intervention him back and get out of Dodge. If they use the Humakti, and my players do generally have one available, there is simply too great a risk of a permanent party loss. They have lost very powerful, long term character, Rune Lord/Priests of Humakt before, and it has colored their thinking. And mine. I regard them now as incredible, perhaps the ultimate, death-dealing Dixie cups. Typical player use of the Humakti is against non-Chaos big bads. Normally the situation is more controlled and known than some Chaos beast with unknown Chaos features or powers. And it is a bit of a catch-22. Humakti are so powerful that they keep getting called on to deal with the worst of the worst. But getting a resurrection for a Storm Bull who died fighting Chaos for your clan is possibly the easiest sell to make at a Chalana Arroy temple there is.
  4. I definitely restrict pow crystals to a degree greater than "an infinite amount of MP". Glorantha is glorantha though, and at some point the PC's should wind up accumulating a good amount of stored POW. But....... They should be specifically asked to cough some up the Temple as their tithe, if they are swimming in them. Invoke Bad King Urgrain stories if they don't see why. PC's of that high a capability need to be tasked more frequently, and more dangerously by their community. The opposition should be using exactly the same tricks that the PC's are employing. Yanafal Tarnils followers can directly counter the Humukti tricks, and are worthy foils in any case. Events in the Hero Wars should be much more draining, even to higher level PC's. A good example of this is a battle. Say a fairly small one happens. How much Rune power do the players use? How long does it last? Battles last WAY more than 15 minutes. Hastings, for example, went literally all day. How do you manage your MP's, let along your Rune points in a situation like that? 5 minutes for your Bladesharp, Protection, and you also got a Pow gain roll with Demoralize. Good for you, but there are still thousands of enemies, and you are down 9 MP's for 5 minutes worth of fighting. And if you had to strut your stuff and face an enemy champion (as you should if you are that strong!), you should have had to burn serious Rune points to prevail. Players should absolutely be put in situations that stress their capabilities, forcing them to rely on others, even when they are powerful. This sort of responsibility gives the players a chance to shine, but also traps them in a way using their powers for the community. And this is a good thing! What happens after the battle? Did the PC's blow their wad to ensure a win, or hold some magic in reserve? If they blew it all, what are they doing if a situation comes up immediately? MPs can come back quickly, if you have enough spirits, but filling a lot of Pow crystals takes a few days. Rune points are the real problem though. If another rival tribe decides they are weak and ripe for the taking, or a more serious foe comes along, or suddenly they have to go on a quest for the great McGuffin then the PCs will likely be called upon to deal with the situation at less than peak power. Very powerful PC's should be in the forefront of every danger for their community, and given every opportunity to burn through resources. Once my PC's had 50+ MPs and 14+ Rune Spells they were going on epic quests, extended travelogue type adventures, and visiting other planes. Sometimes they weren't able to come for years. Other times they got involved in large scale warfare, trying to fight off the Lunar Empire. I always portrayed the Lunars as having more resources than the Orlanthi, with the PC's having to shoulder the difference. That often meant fighting Coder or Rune-Master opponents, frequently back to back, and sometimes in the context of a siege or large scale Battle. I still have fond memories of "The siege of Runegate". That one took several game sessions to resolve, and the PC's were mid-level at best, more caught up in the action than titans striding around the stage. But they did eventually get there, and mowing through medium grade opposition became easy and doable for them -- IF they blew a huge wad of resources. The danger then was a tough Rune-level band being held in reserve somewhere coming in after most of the spells had worn off and just trashing them. Which did happen from time to time. That's all part of the escalation of the Hero Wars. The way I play it, the PC's are sort of on a treadmill trying to get more powerful to face more and more powerful foes, but it doesn't really stop, and they can't win the rat race with raw power. Not really. Harrek has the top spot all sewn up. YGMV.
  5. Sense Assassin isn't spidy-sense. It takes "a few seconds to a melee round" to invoke. MRB p. 139. It also has only a 50m range, MRB p. 183, and the text leaves the term "assassinate" open to GM interpretation, although I can totally see an ambush from a bandit group having decided to specifically target the Humakti as an "assassination". Not so much a hungry pack of chaotic Cave Trolls looking to eat the PCs at night though.
  6. A lot of times, I base how the generic trained solider type should act based on my aggregate collection of experiences watching the PC's react to the over the top rules in Runequest. What I mean is simply make a Humakti an NPC rival of the players, and see how they treat him in various situations. First you are going to get the shock of the initial beat down in some duel. Then the PC's will put their thinking caps on and figure out some way to deal with him. This could be tactical -- dispel comes to mind, but so does a lead off 6 point Lightning. But players are varied and clever and may attempt to thwart their rival strategically, either by diverting him, or discrediting him, or forcing an unwanted obligation upon him. After the power of the Humakti has been established, and the initial rival out of the picture (temporarily, if you like long running plot arcs like me), how the players react to a hostile gang led by an obvious Humakti is your benchmark for how seriously they rate the threat. If they dogpile on him, or run from him, or attempt to short circuit an intended combat encounter, then you know that they think he's sort of a mini-Harrek. If they straight up fight him, knowing what he can do, and manage to deal with him, take note of their tactics and copy them. What they do is likely the best means of fighting a random Humakt follower. Make "trained and competent" level opponents act that way, within their capabilities towards the PC's. I don't like how Truesword can easily prevent hits from very large monsters though. Nearly automatically successfully parry, sure. But make the sword take the damage for crying out loud. I'm not upset about the spirit combat thing though, that seems.....thematic somehow.
  7. For the original topic, I don't see the spells above as problems at all. No, things aren't balanced. That's a MMORPG thing that doesn't need to exist in a paper and pencil RPG. Also the "bad guys" get the same tools, so that's a level playing field right there. I'm not fond of the current incarnation of Sword Trance, but if a close combat monster like that shows up -- missiles, Rune magic, Dispel, or heck, Divine Intervention if you need. Humakti are supposed to be bad assed. I don't want to take away from the front runners for combat power, as they are thematically supposed to be that good. What's that? A critical arrow hit? The broo blew up for 4d6 when you hacked him down? Shame. Roll up a new guy. Your cultural leaders will be forever reaching for their most powerful warriors to deal with the most dangerous of crises, meaning a much greater risk to the Humakti, by my way of thinking. An Orlanth worshiper may decide to steal, lie, cheat, or kill his out of danger, and if he can't, he is eligible for resurrection. That's no small potatoes. I do agree that Morale would have been better thematically with Yelmalio, but I can also see that being something that they have to accomplish with non-magical means, while Humakt just sort of blesses his power into the masses. Shield has always been a crazy powerful spell, and was automatically the first four points of Rune magic that my players took, in multiple long running campaigns. However once the 15 minutes of fame was up, do they quit for the day? What if someone has Dispel 8? Are they one encounter wonders that can be shied away from an inner sanctum by a couple of layers of guards? Magical endurance is even more of a factor in RQ:G, and I strongly favor forcing the players to work hard to manage their Rune points. The worst way to do that is to have one major combat per season and then the players safely retreat back home, which is perpetually un-threatened until the Rune points are back. The best way is to have an uncertain number of encounters, but always multiples, and sometimes a serious extended, multi-session marathon. Having long drawn out adventures where they cannot always hit a holy location or make it to a temple (like an extended time in Vulture Country, ducking Lunar authorities) can really drive home that they need to conserve the Rune points for when it really matters. In my campaign(s), this sort of series of Spartan sessions is very much a sign that the players are "making it", and are ready to step away from the Tula for some hardcore adventuring. Typically at the end there is a newfound appreciation of skills, battle magic, and allies. People discover all manner of things on their character sheets, or in the world they are gaming in, if stressed. Old school RQ2 was a bit of a let down in that the players would just sanctify (and often ward), and be ready to roll at full power the next day. I LIKE that the players can be extremely powerful, but also depleted situationally. Take the classic Troll tactics of using Trollkin and/or Undead to wear the opposition down. Are you really going to throw Shield or Swordtrance now? Yet we all know that Trollkin kill. One lucky spear critical in the head and you are in a bad way. Sure someone else in the party may be able to heal you, but you may not all be together, or the healer may be tied down fighting a cave troll, or other non-optimal circumstance. But if you blow your Rune magic, then the best move for the Trolls is to just wait a bit, maybe cast some darkness spells mixed with Shades, sling some rocks at the players, or even just chill out of human sensory range. The trollkin have accomplished their mission, good job survivors. Now the trolls can either attack in deep night conditions, continue to harass, or even tail the players, looking for an opportunity to pick one off. And say the players prevail. They are down 4-6 divine magic points each, and not necessarily any closer to resolving the scenario. Heck, the trolls might just be some random encounter while the players were on the way to Snake Pipe Hollow. Now your Glorantha may vary. Mine have always used the core rules as the "physics" of the universe. And things like Multispell 4 + Disruption have been there since the beginning, so maybe I just got used to the way it is. But I do like the current system where magical endurance is a thing, or at least can be a thing if the GM wants it to be. The players get their time on the stage to shine, and the GM can introduce more complex tactical scenarios as they become more accomplished. The Bless Crops is the same deal for me. None of my current players is Ernaldan, and only one is currently married to anyone who is even semi-potent, magically. So they have to use straight up skill for their farms (if they own them). If someone went with Ernalda, I'd be thrilled that they were playing the game to help crops and keep everyone rolling in the Winter phase. Just my opinion here. I hope that your sessions are all great times, changes or no, and you certainly brought up something that I hadn't considered in like, forever.
  8. I did the Riskland with a single player. I let him be a Rune Priest (of Yelm), but that was to help balance out that he was all alone with a bunch of desperate NPC's in one of the most terrible places in Glorantha. Risklands is awesome because the odds are so crazy stacked against normal PC behavior (swagger up to the bar and slaughter everything after weeks of munchkinery). It just forces different ways of playing the game, getting everyone out of their usual habits. The player enjoyed the mini-campaign very much, and it was pretty much survivor-horror where the player more or less gave up on basic survival and recon. But this was more than a handful for him, also considering that the vast bulk of the "settlers" were Orlanthi. It's just a great concept, and any CoC player will understand right away that you aren't meant to hack and slash your way through it.
  9. A very common theme for me with the Hero Wars are that <your culture> just isn't ready! Prophecies are spoken, one sided battles with the Lunars are hilariously lost, chaos rears its ugly head and the community that the players live in suffers significant losses. The players wind up being the ones asked to go out and rediscover, uncover, explore, or steal new sources of potency for themselves, and also the clan. This is a theme that the underlying plot sort of rests on. To make it work: 1) The players need to have established for them what the "standard" power levels are. Duels with farmers, fights with trollkin, cattle raids are the order of the day. Relatively safe conflict that shows the player(s) where they stand in the world. Also a chance to introduce the current clan top guns, as well the <useful person/item>. To keep the power levels stable, I strictly enforce starting player rolls ups to as the rules state. 2) Something bad happens that the players may or may not be present for, but a major battle that is lost, like Dangerford, really rubs it in their faces just how unprepared they are for conflict of this type and/or scale. The clan top gun(s) go down in flames, and the <useful person/item> is lost. Nothing like losing your Humakt Rune lord in battle, only to then have to turn over your clan Chalana Arroy priestess as part of the terms of surrender. 3) So the fairly green (but probably at least a little prepared up by the clan) PC's get unleashed on the world outside of their tribal norms and have to take serous risks and have adventures. It is in these "out of the usual" adventures that introduce items, abilities, allies, and opportunities to be gained. If the PC's get enough of these, their characters can progress in power rather quickly. This is where the stored power, extra spirits, bonuses Rune points, matrix'd weapons, stat enhancing maguffins (Royal Jelly anyone?) come from. What they get can be anything, but normally I focus on strict "within the rules" benefits to start. Usually opportunities to "fix" character problems will come up, sometimes without me doing anything in particular. Really I just make sure that that it is a "rich" world, if they can overcome the challenges. 4) Extraordinary powers would be the ability to break game rules. These normally come when the players are ready to step into the role of the new clan War Chief, have rescued the never-returned Chalanna Arroy High Priestess, and are possibly ready to take another go at the problem that defeated their whole clan. From this point on, they may start to become movers and shakers of the world of Glorantha, locally at first, but maybe more generally as their influence and reach expands. When they get "stuck" on a major problem here, it is likely a heroquest of some type to come up with an answer. I've only had two campaigns really go this distance, and the amount of playing to get there was considerable (3 to 5 year campaigns) but they were a ton of fun. If the players start off powerful, I don't think that the world looks quite the same to them. The initial, almost innocent adventures stealing cows, or negotiating a better price with a malicious stable boy set the world up, establish the daily life and rhythms, and tremendously benefit the richness of the campaign as the players gradually realize that their little bubble is in big trouble, and they have to exceed it, in order to save it. And that may also have role playing consequences........ So in short, I would not skip the "weak PC" phase. Just make sure that after a tone setting period (I like 4-5 sessions but favor more and more the longer I do this) there are opportunities to correct or improve the characters. The more extraordinary the adventure, the better the opportunity to improve the character. And the players should be active with the process too. A player hating his INT score should be nagging his Lhankhor Mhy priests about a solution. When they finally get fed up and relate the tale of "John the Sage" who went to <some mountain> and came back a superior scholar, that player should then have his bags packed and be halfway out the door. And it need not be what he expects, or thinks he needs, but it will be something. In short, heroes are made, not born. That's my 2 cents as a GM, anyway.
  10. Many years ago, when I was GM'ing Questworld, I worked up an "Advanced Runequest Combat system" intended to fill in what I saw were serious deficiencies in the non-Glorantha combat mechanics. I used a lot of tweaks (higher weapon skill lowered your strike rank, for example), but the core of the system was the learning of special maneuvers, which did in fact including tripping, "mega" attacks, and the riposte. Players had to find a trainer for each special manuever, and had strict limits on how many they could ever learn based on intelligence. Three was the absolute max for a genius fighter, IIRC. The goal of the system was to allow more detailed and funner combat without resorting to magic, as was the solution in Glorantha based games. The system neatly dodged the dreaded "infinite parry" problem of the 85%-100% fighters with good armor, gave the weapon choices interested options (because many special maneuvers were weapon restricted), and clearly differentiated a great fighter (90% skill, 2 special manuevers) from a solid one (85% skill, but zero special maneuvers). The system was wildly popular with my long term veterans.
  11. Politeness +30% Wear tuke +15% Hockey +25%
  12. Some more Lunars. These are mainly Lance and Laser with a Frostgrave snuck in. Not my best photo of all five. More Lance and Laser, still some of the better Glorantha figures available, and they paint up well. IMO only Mad Knight can do better, and I'm buying those as fast as he can produce them. https://armorcast.com/miniatures/lance-laser/
  13. Thanks Neil, it has been so long that I had forgotten! I may pick up some footmen for completeness, but there is already a huge backlog on my painting bench. But still..... IIRC I omitted the shields partially due to reasons of poor fitment, but it may also have been for aesthetics. These were painted a couple of years ago according to google photos. (That particular picture is new.) Castingroomminiatures was also the source of several of my "leader" bison riders, which I had been trying to recall. Greatly appreciate the link!
  14. Thanks guys, Based on the comments here I am going with the "more or less ordinary skilled heavy cavalry" for the riders. Spirit magic as the dominant spell type, but with the possibility of a junior sorcery or just having a long term sorcery buff from someone or something else from time to time. The Black Horses are weaker than I had imagined, but that's probably okay because it makes them a serious, but potentially solvable problem. The heavy duty summons, sorcery, and other magic I am restricting to support type officers, unit wyters/standards, or some deus ex Ethilrista that he has laying around.
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