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About Narl

  • Rank
  • Birthday 03/01/1971


  • RPG Biography
    I've been running and playing RPGs since 1980. My first exposure to BRP was around that time with RuneQuest, but Stormbringer is what I ran the most.
  • Current games
    Running RuneQuest in Glorantha while continuing to develop my homebrew fantasy setting.
  • Location
    Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
  • Blurb
    Homebrew campaigns are tastiest.

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  1. The BGB is one of my favorite RPG products ever. I am thankful for Chaosium keeping it in print as that makes it more relevant and accessible to my players. For the campaigns I have run in various fantasy and historical settings, the thing that would help me the most in terms of preparation time is an extensive bestiary. With the plans for multiple Fantasy Earth settings, a bestiary that covers natural animals and mythic creatures would be useful. I know that wouldn't fit in the core book, but I think it would make for a useful separate product for all the Mythic Earth settings and for home-brew fantasy worlds.
  2. Thanks, that is exactly the sort of thing I was looking for. I am going to add the spy element and Slythin will have some hidden knowledge she learned through spying. One thing I had already started for Slythin is that she pushes Iverne to aid and stay with the adventurers (particularly the Orlanthi) and that seems to fit with Alusar having aided Orlanth.
  3. We were doing theater of the mind. If we were using a map that may have led us to play it out differently.
  4. The bison rider moved to protect some of the party members on foot, the others were far enough out of the way. Though I could have made it more "interesting" I wanted the adventurers to focus on the interaction with Idrima and the potential for Danakos lurking about.
  5. I agree! That is something I have been working on. I didn't mandate full backgrounds but I wish I had. I really have maybe 2-3 backgrounds that I can incorporate into the story. I did have the Pure Horse assistant shaman be a cousin to Hendroste in Apple Lane, so there is some connection there. I've also got the Storm Bull wondering if it was Percippus, the Lunar in charge of Apple Lane up until the Dragonrise, who has his father's magical lance head. Percippus supposedly looted Gringle's when he took over a few years back. I leave most of the roleplaying out of the narrative, but there has been enough that the adventurers are growing fond of Brightflower, Gooseberry, and other NPCs. There is one background aspect I need to work on. Iverne, the Chalana Arroy healer has a talking shadowcat (who can cast Sleep) named Slythin. Slythin is small, like a kitten, and does not seem to age. Both Iverne and Slythin have Passions associated with each other. Slythin also seems to encourage Iverne to make certain decisions at times. What is Slythin? I need to work that out, and I am open to suggestions. Some sort of Yinkin association seems appropriate. I'd like to keep Slythin sort of enigmatic but I want to reveal some secrets about the cat, I just don't know what those secrets are yet!
  6. I didn't mention it above, but the Stone Woman did speak to them first, demanding that they leave the cattle for her. The adventurers could have negotiated but attacked instead. When I was a player in this adventure previously, we negotiated with the Stone Woman and left peacefully, giving up some cattle. My group was having none of that. I was concerned for the adventurers as the Stone Woman can be pretty brutal, and Danakos can be dangerous as well. With the critical from the bison, the Stone Woman was out in the second round, and Danakos was overwhelmed in the third. So it was a quick combat, probably no more than twenty minutes. My experience so far with this version of RQ is that combat moves fast. Between Rune magic, Spirit magic, augments, and high starting skills, significant enough damage to knock enemies out of the fight happens quickly. It isn't like lower-magic/no-augment BRP where two warriors might face off with 75% skill and you get into some attack/parry repetitiveness. The warriors in the group are nearly always attacking at above 100% and have enhancements to damage. This combat isn't too bad to run because there are only two foes, the Stone Woman and Danakos (plus the possibility of a Sprul-Pa or two). The combats that I do feel are complex are ones with many foes with them all having both Spirit magic and Rune magic. Both of the first two adventures in the GM Screen Pack have encounters like this. Tracking all that magic and its effects, strike ranks, etc. is unpleasant to say the least. I did make up a sheet with all the stats for Danakos and the Stone Woman on it, so I wouldn't have to be flipping pages. I find that sort of thing to be really helpful from a combat management perspective. I also make sure the players know how to calculate their own strike ranks. I don't list who goes on what SR before the start of round, I just start calling out Strike Ranks starting at 1. I found listing out everything that happens each round ahead of the round to really slow down the pace and cause the urgent feel of combat to be lost.
  7. Traveller was largely written and in playtesting when Star Wars came out. Marc Miller and Loren Wiseman went to see Star Wars during development and did conclude that you could do Star Wars with Traveller, but Star Wars didn't inspire it. If it did, it would have had blasters and light sabres instead of revolvers and blades, and fighters and capital ships instead of pinnaces and free traders.
  8. Having become aware of the cattle penned near the tower, the adventurers decided to bypass the tower and head right for their goal, the Ernaldori cattle. The adventurers spy the mad Greydog Varanik lurking nearby. They manage to capture him using Sleep. Iverne heals and awakens him, and they learn a bit more of what has transpired. They bind Varanik and make him their prisoner. The adventurers pass the open entrance to the tower and note the scene of carnage within and the "statue" of the Stone Woman. Eyes on the prize, they start herding the cattle out. This of course angers the Stone Woman, who awakens and lumbers out stop them. At the same time, Danakos attacks from hiding. The cattle panic and stampede! Endar follows trying to bring them under control. A swirling melee ensues! Stron and his bison attack the Stone Woman. Veshee, the bison, manages to roll a critical head butt against her. She manages a regular parry. Veshee normally does 2D10 + 3D6. With a critical, I figured this means 20 + 3D6 + 18 points of damage, which resulted in 45 points of damage to the abdomen, killing Idrima outright. This was impressive, but perhaps a bit anti-climactic, but such is the nature of RuneQuest combat. Danakos is dealt with quickly and without mercy. Varanik escapes during the melee. Varanik will definitely return in some fashion. Will he return to the Greydogs and tell a different story than what actually happened? Or go into hiding? The truth would certainly get him outlawed. The adventurers drop the stone to summon the spirit of the dead Greydog woman and now her spirit can rest. On the return, the adventurers decide to go to Carthalo's hut to tell them of what transpired. They question whether the Stone Woman is really dead or not. Carthalo says that he knows of an intact menhir that meddling with would normally cause her spirit to manifest. The adventurers smash it, and she does not manifest, so Carthalo declares that she is at last defeated. The adventurers celebrate with Carthalo that evening. A few weeks after returning to Apple Lane, the adventurers get a report of something strange in the snowy orchards. They find an immense baked cinnamon and nutmeg roll rolling about the orchards, singing a song they do not understand. They eventually capture the Earth Loaf and some of them partake of its warm, gooey center, gaining +1 CON. A few days later, a pair of triceratops show up, snuffling about for the Earth Loaf and causing damage to the orchard. The adventurers delay them with other food while they have Gooseberry bake up the closest thing he can come up with to the Earth Loaf. They lead the dinosaurs away with the cinnamon rolls and there is peace in Apple Lane again. Running this little Earth Loaf episode was a big deal for me, as I don't generally introduce silly stuff like that into my games. Ever. We certainly laugh a lot in my games, but the content of the setting and adventures is generally kept pretty serious. So, it was a big step I took, but I wanted to display some of the whimsical side of Glorantha. They did consider the connection that it was perhaps some gift from Ernalda for defeating the demon earth creature Idrima. Everyone enjoyed this little side episode so I will have to think up another. That ends Dark Season 1625. There are a number of loose ends that have accumulated at this point. What about the remaining Tusk Riders? Will they keep up their raids? Where did Percippus go and does he have Stron's father's lance point? I have ideas for this one. Will Varanik stir up more trouble? For published adventures, I am considering either Darkness at Runegate or The Dragon of Thunder Hills. Or we may move to some homebrew involving Percippus. Kirasa has just learned the spell Geomancy, and I know she is going to use it to help Stron find that lance point. Is Percippus holed up with some Lunar buddies in a ruined manor? Or maybe in the Rainbow Mounds? Maybe he is tainted by Chaos? Lots to consider. For now, we are taking a brief RuneQuest hiatus as two of the six players are traveling for the next couple of weeks. I'll be running some Call of Cthulhu instead for the remaining four. None have ever played before so it should be great fun. Thanks for reading and any comments or ideas are appreciated!
  9. Next session we jumped right into dealing with the rock lizards attacking the bull. Some criticals and specials were rolled with missiles by the adventurers right at the outset, resulting in a couple of quickly dispatched lizards. The adventurers charged into melee and finished off a few more, and just in time as the bull was not doing well. The bull, on the edge of panic, was cleverly put to Sleep, and then healed. After a rest, they led it along with them. Only 59 more cattle to go! 😂 Traveling in the wet snow and muck, they reached the Broken Tower. Use of Farsee, some knowledge rolls, and some scouting garnered information (including briefly spotting Danakos). Most importantly, they noted intact menhirs, which Carthalo had warned them about, and they were greatly afraid of. The adventurers advanced to the ramp and a dream-weft of the Stone Woman promptly manifested. She urged them to bring the bull to her. They refused and decided instead to disturb some of the animal skulls. Four sprul-pa formed up and attacked. So this is where the dice went where I think every GM fears they will go. The sprul-pa started rolling lots of criticals with their multiple attacks. The adventurers struggled, but still managed to parry to some degree. But still, it was lots of points of damage, though at least they still benefitted from armor. Also, it seems my new "now with less left leg and more abdomen" Q-workshop hit location die really wanted to make up for the previous lack of abdomen hits. I had three adventurers and one horse down, all with wounds to the soft white underbelly. By this time, the adventurers had figured out they needed to be making called shots to the head to deal with the sprul-pa. They dropped them and all were healed. The Storm Bull, Berserked of course, smashed every animal skull up and down the entire ramp until he collapsed from exhaustion. Recovered, the adventurers recollected themselves and advanced towards the tower. Various plans were discussed and we ended there. At this point, I am at last caught up to our current session, which was last night. Next week we will conclude The Broken Tower!
  10. Our next session started off with some important bookkeeping, the first "end of season" leveling up. So that I was really well prepared for this, I created a summary: Experience Rolls If you did not train or research this season, check four additional occupation or cult skills. Roll D100 for each. For skills add the category bonus. Must roll higher than skill, but 100 is always a success. Choose to gain 1D6 or 3%. Training Skills or runes below 75% can be trained. This takes an entire season. No experience roll is required. Gain is 1D6-1 or 2%. Research Skills or runes below 75% can be trained. This takes an entire season. An experience roll is required. Gain is 1D6-2 or 1%. Characteristics Humans can raise characteristics to a maximum of 21. POW gain rolls can be obtained by: Overcoming POW vs. POW resistance rolls less than 95%, spirit combat success, Rune Masters leading worship at temple, holy place, or sancitified ground, Initiates during High Holy Day or Sacred Time at temple, holy place, or sancitified ground, through training with priests for one day for 500 L. The chance to gain POW is (21 - current POW) x 5 = % chance of gain. Gain is 1 or 1D3-1. STR, CON, DEX, CHA can also be raised. Not INT or SIZ. Takes two full seasons of training and 500 L. With training, automatic gain of 1 or 1D3-1. With research, must make roll as with POW. CHA may be raised by possession of magic items, events, and leadership. Additional Events May sacrifice POW for Rune Magic from cult or associated cults. Sprit magic may be learned from cult or associated cults at the rate of one week per spell. Note prohibited spirit magic. See page 353 for assistant shaman. See page 384 for sorcerers. Choose training and research options for next season. For this first season, I had everyone just get the four extra checks. In future seasons, they will choose ahead if they are going to either work on cult/occupation skills (and get the four extra checks), train, or research. Everyone enjoyed the experience process. It highlighted how RuneQuest/BRP is different from D&D in nearly every way. It also showed that you can't just be along for the ride as a player -- you need to actively do things to gain: use skills, call on passions, augment with runes, use spells, etc. Without proactively exercising everything your character can do, you will not advance. Having seen how the experience system works, it resulted in characters using more of the options they had in the next session, which makes for a more interesting game! One area of concern is that at this point -- some of them have looked up their Rune Master requirements. This is not something I had them look up at character creation, so none of the characters are "optimized" to become Rune Masters. This means that some of them have skills at 35 or so that will need to get to 90. I'm not going to do the exact math, but even at a 2% per season average, that could mean around five years in game to get there. In campaign time, that seems reasonable, but if I were to run an adventure every season except Sacred Time, that would mean around 25 adventures. If each takes two sessions, that is a year of real-world time. I guess that seems reasonable. In one case, the Chalana Arroy healer, she will be able to make Rune Priest very quickly. With no combat skills, all her points went into cult and occupational skills. She could be there after a few more adventures. Somehow, I don't think anyone will have a problem with this. 😀 We also reviewed how recovering Rune points works. Everyone has a copy of the one page calendar, and they marked their seasonal holy days. I left it up to them to let me know when they will worship. We will see how this goes. I am tempted just to say "you get all your Rune points back between adventures" but tracking actual worship days may add to the immersion a bit, plus it will make things more interesting if the adventurers go on an extended adventure. Following the end of season stuff, we started The Broken Tower. Being that they were in Clearwine to recognize the new Thane of Apple Lane, it was easy to move right into the story of the cattle raid gone bad. After following the tracks easily, they met with Carthalo, and interacted with the dead Greydog's spirit. For my assistant shaman player, this served as a good model for him to see what shamans can do. They spent the night with Carthalo as a wet snow fell over the Badlands. Following the cattle trail north, they reached a rise, where they saw rock lizards ripping at the hide of one of their bulls. And we stopped there for the evening.
  11. All of the adventurers are from the two Alephtar Games Warlocks & Wolfriders files available here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/2555/Alephtar-Games/subcategory/4693_4799/Warlocks--Wolfriders The tusk riders are in files I found here: http://www.lloydianaspects.co.uk/rolePlayGaming/runeQuest.html
  12. Between sessions, I did some reading and thinking about where to go next. I had planned to move on to the Cattle Raid scenario in the GM Screen Adventure book. I like how it tied in the clan interactions, but it is pretty short, and it the next session could have easily been a big battle like the one with the Tusk Riders. Instead, I decided to slot in The Broken Tower. It also highlights clan interactions, but has a lot more going on and some more "fantastic" events. At some point, I do want to run the Cattle Raid, but for now I though the Broken Tower would be better received.
  13. We resumed the next session with the attack from the Tusk Riders on the Tin Inn. This of course had to start with a brief explanation of Strike Ranks, during which I emphasized that everyone would want to learn to track their own. I provided a copy of the SR modifier table to everyone. Strike Ranks actually worked out really well. After a couple of years of D&D with this group, it was a refreshing change due to all the differences. Everyone liked the ability to do more than one thing in a round, and the Statements of Intent actually keep everyone from dithering, since everyone is anxious to get to the action. I used the Q-Workshop SR die, which I learned has the numbers in a "spindown" arrangement. Nice touch! My method is I just start at 1 and call out each rank and anyone who goes on that rank shouts out. The only thing I had to track was when my Tusk Riders went. In the combat, things got interesting fast. Kyros, the Sun Dome Templar with the set pike couldn't wait to impale one of those Tusk Rider and use their own Damage Bonus against them. That is until he got hit with a Demoralize and began to question the whole enterprise. To overcome it, he called on his Fire Rune to guide his spearpoint true. Making the augment roll, the first light of the rising sun reflected off his spear point, and he struck home! Rolling an Impale to the head of the Tusker put a quick end to the Tusker, but the rider still did a number on Kyros with his lance charge. From there, all hell broke loose as the Storm Bull went Berserk and charged out of the stables on his bison. The Orlanthi got his sword broken in two by the Tusk Rider leader, only to pay him back with a 3-point Lightning from that same broken sword that turned the leader's arm to ash. Though there were many wounds on both sides, once the Tusk Rider leader Xiobalg, and one other, were dead, the Tusk Riders decided this wasn't worth it, and fled. The six remaining Tusk Riders will have to sort out who their new leader will be. Though I dropped a hint that they might have treasure wherever their home base might be, the adventurers opted not to pursue, knowing that there would still be a tough and deadly fight ahead. Overall, running the combat went quite well. I did do some cut and paste work to get all the stat blocks on one page for each Tusk Rider and Tusker pair. I wish that the adventure didn't have every one of the tusk rider stat blocks spanning more than one page when with a little more careful layout, they could have been much easier to use. I would have also liked to have a nice premade "squad sheet" to track wounds/HP/MP etc. This was something even the earliest RuneQuest adventures have, and it is desperately needed. Since position was so important in this battle, I decided to use paper miniatures and a battlemat. It took some digging, but I actually even found color tusk riders! After the battle, we role-played through the rewards, celebration, and the making of the Orlanthi Mardor into the Thane of Apple Lane! Next time, it is off to Clearwine Fort so the new thane can be recognized by Queen Leika.
  14. * Spoilers for the adventures in the GM Screen Pack to follow in this post and all further posts! If you plan on playing those adventures, stop reading now. * We started out the next session at the Tin Inn. After some description, I asked everyone to take a look at their backgrounds, make some connections, and figure out how they ended up in Apple Lane. Some had fought in battles or witnessed the Dragonrise together, so knew each other already. The two Ernaldori were acquainted. The Storm Bull came here seeking an enchanted lance point his father had lost in battle many years ago, and heard that things like that often ended up at a place called Gringle's Pawnshop. The sorceress came here on rumors of dragon activity in the area and to learn all she could of the Dragonrise. The Grazelander was drawn to Apple Lane by visions, just as his cousin Hendroste (a Grazelander described in the adventure) was a couple of years ago. The adventurers met Aleena and Brightflower, and learned of the Tusk Rider threat. Much of the session was spent touring Apple Lane with Hendroste, meeting the other residents, and planning the defense against the Tusk Riders. The adventurers decided to wait for the attack at the Tin Inn, with the gate open, to hopefully lure in the Tusk Riders, with the Sun Domer ready with set pike and the others ready to ambush. A bit before dawn the next day, the Tusk Riders made their feint, which the group did not fall for (the Sun Domer invoking his Stasis Rune to stick to the plan), and we ended with Tusk Riders just outside the gate of the Tin Inn. This session was not entirely how I like to start things off generally. I would have preferred to just go right into combat and start with action. It was a lot of description and NPC introduction, which was needed anyway at some point, but it did make for a sort of tame first session. Everyone described their adventurers and there was some good roleplaying, but it was lacking in conflict. I did introduce Gooseberry Sprig (if you didn't know, I checked and this name is a reference to an early duck cartoon strip) and was curious to see the reaction to the idea of anthropomorphic ducks. I had Gooseberry armored up, crossbow ready to help defend the Inn! Only one of my players is familiar with Glorantha, and that is through King of Dragon Pass. Interestingly, no one really was terribly surprised by the duck. I did explain they were just another of the many other types of Beastmen. Anyway, I was glad to get over the duck hurdle with no walkouts. 😀 By next session, everyone had the rulebooks they ordered, and I think a much better picture of what they were getting into. More soon.
  15. Narl

    Crimson Bat

    Just how dead is the Crimson Bat in 1625? Would it be a surprise if it returned? Or is it pretty much expected to return? I'm reading all the RQG stuff and was curious. Thanks!
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