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Nevermet

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Nevermet last won the day on May 26

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About Nevermet

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    Senior Member

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  • RPG Biography
    I have been gaming since 1983 when I was 6.
  • Current games
    Among other things, I'm here because I love Glorantha.
  • Location
    Canada
  • Blurb
    I can talk intelligently about Maniria and Spol on occasion; I make no claims beyond this.

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  1. I'm going to re-read this tomorrow and see if I can think of anything worth saying.
  2. The plot of the session was very simple: The players set up a concert, and the bard of the group performs. Meanwhile, at the other end of the plaza, Greymane's recruiter's are trying to drum up business. 2 side issues are becoming apparent: 2 of my players are 12 years younger than me. As a result, all Rush and Neil Peart jokes fell flat on them Wednesday night. This saddens me greatly. Rush is one of the reasons I moved to Canada, dammit! ...ok, not really (my wife got a good job), but it sounded good. The dicerolling bot I'm using in Discord loves my players. What Happened So, I tell them I want to ask them a series of questions, and how they answer will structure the mechanics for the session. The first question I ask them is I know that they want to put on a great show, but what are the consequences of that? After some lengthy discussion, they agree they want a concert that raises their profile, and as a secondary effect improves their noblewoman's standing (either in terms of reputation or financially, as they will be selling her wine at the event) They're definitely starting to get that when dice are involved, it's not just trying to do something, but what's the point the matters. I then ask each of the three players what their character is going to do to prepare for the concert. These actions will have rolls, and they will end up being augments for the concert. The merchant has a TBA spell on her sheet, and decides she wants it to be "Slap a Logo on it!" which allows her to etch a logo or brand on an inanimate object. As this is gloriously thematic, I agree. She then goes into the market and buys a ton of swag: scarves, tankards, hats, etc, and she brands them all with either the caravan's symbol, or the noblewoman's symbol. "What's a good concert without swag?" she asks. I cannot argue. She rolls a marginal failure. I rule that she has swag, but a lot of it is kinda cheap in an obvious sort of way. They give no benefit to the concert, and if the concert isn't a success, she's going to have a "cash flow problem." The Healer at first decides he's going to help make food in the kitchen, but then starts asking if he can try to find spirits in the plaza. He's decided he'll let the others do immediate planning, because he wants to try to get more information on the Ogres and any other odd supernatural activity. I was not ready for that question.... but I say sure as that has opportunities for fun. One success later, he finds 2 spirits of note: An earth spirit is living in the arch of the main gate into the plaza, and some sort of warrior spirit that is small, in chains, and has been obviously cursed. The earth spirit gets along with him, wants to tell him the history of the city walls over the last 4 centuries but isn't immediately helpful. The earth spirit can, however, detect Chaos and other threats to the city walls, so it has sensed ogres passing through in the past. The healer had less time to spend with the other spirit, but he learned he was a combat spirit summoned to help chase down an alleged ogre in an outlying village. Things got out of hand, and the ogre escaped and a massive fire engulfed a lot of the town. The spirit magician who controlled the spirit was exiled, and the spirit was cursed by a local shaman. The spirit was VERY confident it acted in a very rational manner. (I couldn't remember off the top of my head if there was a way to make an Uroxi spirit, but this was basically a stormbull anti-chaos spirit) The Skald announces she's.... going to find a drummer. Because what's a good show without a drummer? So, she finds a drummer. I ask her to give me the name of the tavern she finds him in, and she blurts out "The Broken Femur!" Awesome. I decide that the roll is not to find a drummer, but whether the drummer augments the concert mechanically. She finds this guy, and his name is Neil: She rolls a marginal success, and she returns to the Plaza, Neil in tow. The player of the Healer and I then try to explain who Neil Peart is to the other two players. They are very nice and humour us middle-aged geeks politely. I wanted the concert to be climactic... but honestly it wasn't. I made the Recruiters stiff competition for attention, but the PCs rolled well and burned HP to win. The result was a victory in 5 rounds, 5 points to 0. One nice touch: the player of the skald had come with a music playlist of rock her PC was going to play. We're definitely leaning into the game world being one big 1980s heavy metal video. (and honestly, there are worse ways to do things) My coup de grace, though was when the concert was finishing victoriously, I asked the Healer to make a Spirit roll. The ogres have been shadowing the group since they killed an ogre in the 1st adventure, and the ogres saw the healer talking with an anti-chaos spirit (I'm going to assume there is an animist ogre in the mix somewhere, somehow). Anyways, the ogres are not a fan of this, and assassinated the anti-chaos spirit during the concert. The Healer failed his roll, so he did not see the murder, but he found the dying spirit after the concert. Another failed roll, and the spirit died in his arms. The Healer is NOT happy. Closing situation Here's where things stand now The big issue in the game is now apparent to me: the ogres are in town, and they are going to summon Cacodemon to destroy Selgos unless the PCs stop them. Meanwhile, the Greymane recruiters are not happy with the players, and are going to angrily (but not violently at first) ask why the PCs ruined their recruitment for the next invasion of Esrolia. Exactly how much they are a threat moving forward will depend on how the players manage them. At the same time, the Noblewoman is just trying to figure out how to stabilize her situation, but the PCs are being PCs, the ogres want her dead, and now her older brother, the Lord Mayor of Selgos is going to have a paranoid concern that she's trying to take over the city. She doesn't want to overthrow her brother, but she may find herself in a situation where she is either going to be killed or lead a palace coup. Closing Thoughts My players have gotten to a point where they want to do things they think make sense plot-wise, but they have no idea how its represented mechanically. They assume I'l figure it out and let them know. This is a mixed blessing: While I like their creative thinking (swag, get a drummer), I'm not COMPLETELY a fan of "just tell me what I need to roll, when." They continue to succeed too much. I worry they're going to get bored because they aren't being challenged enough. If this was a combat oriented game, they would all be Steven Seagal characters: badasses who squint and then rip people limb from limb. I realized I wasn't adjusting the base based on prior rolls, so I'm going to do that more moving forward. I don't want to be one of those mean GMs, but players need to be challenged. Its no fun if you just instantly win.
  3. Prepping for tonight's game. In short, they are putting on a concert, welcoming their allied noblewoman back to Selgos, promoting her wine, and taking donations so she can fight the (extremely undefined and to-be-determined) Good Fight. They will be doing so at the opposite end of a large plaza in Selgos, while recruiters from Greymane will be at the other. More or less on principle the PCs have decided they need to annihilate all competition and get all eyes focused on them. I have re-watched Scott Pilgrim vs the World for inspiration. 😜 The head of the recruiters is an initiate of Finovan the raider, but he is aided by an entire entourage. The main people doing public recruitments are an initiate of Drogarsi the Skald, and an initiate of Issaries & Thereltero. The recruiters are not really looking for trouble per se, they're just looking for warriors to join the next glorious invasion of Esrolia.
  4. I have to point out this is very much my players' choice. They've consistently chosen to make their characters non-combatants and look for non-combat solutions to things. They really like the general strategy of using social skills to develop a political network, and then us HP to concretize the relationships. They're also having fun being goofballs, or I would suspect they'd want to take over a city.
  5. crap, I stepped in it. Sorry. I really need to not post after 11PM my time. Be back in a bit with collected thoughts. sigh 😶
  6. Now, as for culture.... that's a different kettle of fish than Castelein as a person. This post is only about the Manirian Tribes of the Trader Princes. I'm going to not going to opine about the Volanic Manirians, the Kaxtori, the Pralori, the Caratani, the Handrans, the Mraloti, the Alatani, or the Ramalians at the moment. Blood Over Gold had 2 broad cultures: Trader Princes and Wenelians. The Guide, OTOH, just has "Manirians" (though with some important subcategories). It's important to work out a coherent culture, therefore, which is primarily Orlanthi, but has a Western influence. According to the Guide, the Manirians are a type of Orlanthi culture with a "thin veneer" of Western culture, especially in the cities. We know they worship Orlanth and Ernalda, like most Orlanthi, but they also revere Mralot, Heler, Harand, and Entru. We know the Henotheism practiced by the Trader Princes and their philosophers view "Fair Exchange" as the First Action. Trader Prince henotheism, therefore, is not an element of daily life for most Manirians. From the POV of the average Manirian, gobbledygook about an "Invisible God" that is somehow "behind" Orlanth is nutty city talk. To talk about the Invisible God (whether it is called Malkion, Makan, Ashara, or something else) is a signal that you're Urban, which is a strange designation indeed in Maniria. I don't expect any ceremonies to the Invisible God in the hills, only in the Cities. Castelein is probably remembered as a weird Hero of Issaries, which probably is just fine with Castelein. And this highlights a core paradox: The Cities of Manirian are simultaneously the most cosmopolitan and provincial places there are. To be from a City in Maniria means you probably know or own things of Esrolia or Safelster, but you probably don't know the countryside off the Manirian Road at all. I'm sure strange people from many places end up hiding in the Cities. I don't think the Trader Princes have castes.
  7. I'm going to be completely honest: Castelein's beliefs and magic are largely undefined. I am choosing, based on my personal preferences, to keep him primarily sorcerous in his orientation. I fully accept this is not the only way one could go, but it's how I want to go. The question, for me, is given that editorial choice on my part, how can I best "fit" Castelein into Maniria and Glorantha as it currently exists according to the canonical Guide & Sourcebook. More on culture & religion in next post.
  8. So the Malkioni influence in Maniria, in your view, is basically a remnant of sunken Slontos?
  9. Yeah, compacts with the Aldryami are definitely something limiting population growth in Maniria. Do we know of any other Gloranthan traditions of relics or dismembering the honoured dead? So, yeah, I'm willing to believe it's related to an Elder Race. I haven't completely decided what I want to do with Castelein and either the Newts of Ryzel or the Uz. Regarding the Uz, it is entirely likely that Castelein either descended to or returned from the Underworld via Ice Peak. Exactly how he got safe passage is unclear, but I assume a reference to Arkat is involved. And the Newts are also a complicated issue, because Palangio brought them to Maniria during the First Age... again, with little detail I can find. So, yeah... interrelated questions of what is Castelein's philosophy/sorcery, what did he do to get across Maniria, how did he die, and how is he remembered by the Trader Princes over the last 400 years. ...I need whiskey.
  10. Oh, Certainly. It's just that when developing a setting, it's important to keep one's "Mary Sues" under control as much as when you write fiction, IME Also, upthread, I made this joke about the Manirian Hero Wars: I still don't have my thoughts in order, but I'm seeing the Trader Prince political order completely falling in the face of the Reforestation. Some of the Manirian Tribes give up their metal and farms and live in the Forest, kneeling before the Aldryami. The Helering Priests of Blue Water re-assert power (possibly having visions of a coming flood). As for the ones who insist on being heirs to Castelein... I suspect some will turn to ever darker manipulation magics, and others will have a radical egalitarian version of Castelein.
  11. Crap, my night is gonna suck. ok, the short, short version: The Ashara School of Castelein the Traveller was his own invention, based on Arkati mysteries and combined with him being a master of absorbing understandings of other cultures. The result is a response to the collapse of the Godlearners that is as far away from the Rokari that you can get: While the Rokari are reactionaries that wish to create a faith that is almost what the Brithini do, Castelein believed we can never go back, only forward. We must continue to evolve and change, returning to a Golden Age will never work. Instead, Innovation guided by Right Principles is the best idea. He rejects the concept of devolution, the idea that the world has steadily gotten worse since before the Dawn. The world has gotten more dynamic and diverse with every action. Creation has increased its wonders every Age. With every Age, the overt presence of the Divine diminished, but that's simple because the world had become that uch more sustainable and glorious that He could recede and/or imbue everything with divinity Malkion the Sacrifice was not a flawed attempt at saving the world that barely worked because He was betrayed. Instead, it did exactly what Malkionaru wanted / needed it to do: usher in a new age. Malkion was devolving his power to more Beings, not being ruined by Error. In every Age, the Law changes, and we must constantly begin anew to understand the New Law. Understanding the world that exists now is not a matter of logic, but of rhetoric and communicative rationality. We must understand others in order to always build a New City For Castelein, stagnation is a core error of thought. The Godlearners thought they could understand everything by identifying mythological archetypes, but doing so is both inherently disrespectful and misunderstanding as it does not take the stories and meanings of others seriously. Castelein's power was in part from constantly living as Old Malkion did outside his citadel. Never rest, never stop, always meet new people, learn from from them, teach them. Exchange is central to this. Castelein's heirs are essentially sophists Rhetoric over logic At its most crass this becomes language games and manipulation to "win" arguments and negotiations The party line is that they're moving toward more understanding There is a more radical heresy that sees the wealth of teh Trader Princes as a perversion of Castelein's teachings. Castelein did not leave a system for achieving illumination He assumed if someone wanted it, they'd find the "gaps" in his writings and seek out new sources of truth to fill them, and find illumination eventually. That's what I;ve got so far. That's about half-way to being IC. There's a naive enthusiasm that I need to control.
  12. Oh, definitely a merchant, and depending on how one reads Glorantha, one expects any Hero of sufficient power to be illuminated one way or another. Also, the info on Castelein and Ashara is extremely sparse: From the Guide (no mention of Ashara): An adventurer merchant originally from Ralios Actively sought Kathaela He married an Elf Arrived in Rhigos in 1170 He went to the Underworld and returned Died in Selgos, and dismembered into 52 relics The philosophers who followed him claim Equal Exchange is the First Principle The Middle Sea Empire - additional material on Castelein He managed to return to Ralios Like the Sharp Abiding Book of Rokar, his works are also a "refinement" of the Abiding Book He taught about Ashara and preached peace and communication and exchange across Maniria Middle Sea Empire - on Ashara Ashara is the name of the latest action, like Kiona or Ordelvis Ashara is "the power of movement, which energized the malleable and fragile world to be made." Ashara is a version of the Invisible God that is knowable to humanity Blood over Gold The original trek was to find a Diamond in the Holy Country for a Pralori as tribute to save his people There is a "Dark Ashara" for Trolls (or for dealing with Trolls) He has saintly companions He negotiates with everything, including spirits, to make his way across Maniria. ...And that's about it. That's an ABSURDLY roomy framework to work within. That said, it's not really contradictory. I need to go, but I may have time tonight to actually write up some of my personal thoughts, rather than just interpeting how pre-existing texts fit together.
  13. I like the idea that it is Teshna & Wenelia who got switched. Also, work is being a bit absurd right now, so I'm not working on Maniria as much as I want, however, I found another headache. I have been assuming that "Ashara" is a corruption of "Issaries" (Issaries -> Ishari -> Ashara)... but what if it's a corruption of "Rashorana"? ("Rashorana" --> "Ashora" --> "Ashara")? arrrrgh
  14. Shoving people (and gods) into inert archetypes, rather than pay attention to their distinct stories, is always an act of disrespect and misunderstanding. (I'm about... 50% in-character right now )
  15. And in the process, the GLs became anti-narrative, as they focus increasingly on archetype over process. At least, that's what the Asharan wizards of Maniria argue IMG.
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