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Scorpio Rising

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  • RPG Biography
    31 years a gamer
  • Current games
    Working on Glorantha games using Cortex Plus, Blades in the Dark and Heroquest: Glorantha
  • Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
  • Blurb
    Looking for Gloranthaphiles in Ann Arbor, MI

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  1. I only got into Glorantha 20 years into my gaming career but looking back I now realize what a massive influence Greg had on pretty much game I've ever played. Looking back on games of Over the Edge, Vampire, Amber, Everway, Kult and a long litany of Indy games I've played in the 21st century, they *all* have DNA that traces back to RuneQuest, Pendragon, Prince Valiant or all three. As someone who prides himself on creating his own game worlds from the ground up, Glorantha remains the sole world that I am deeply personally bought into and from which I derive huge pleasure in exploring. Gods rest ye, Greg, by whichever door you exit the Courts of Silence.
  2. Fonrit is cool and I am definitely interested. Any chance of a Fronelan genre pack? I've heard a rumor online that eg. The Book of Glorious Joy is now stripped from canon, but ever since reading Glorantha: Introduction To The Hero Wars I've wanted to run a game in the Janube valley with the incursion of the Kingdom of War, Hsunchen bear people in the woods, Lunar settlers, Orlanthi refugees and Malkioni natives all tussling things out. What are the chances?
  3. Great news, MOB! For those of us who bought missed the Kickstarter and bought the books on chaosium.com, when should we be looking out for our discount coupons for the hardcovers? Am I right in thinking that those will come to the email associated with the purchase? Best, Robert
  4. I'd really like to go to a local D&D meetup and run a couple of 13th Age in Glorantha games. (By my argument, if Starfinder is "D&D" then so is 13G.) I'm not wild about the Chaos Rises campaign setting, I'd rather run some games set in the early 1620s period when Sartar is still occupied. I just think it's a more interesting period for gaming. As such, I'd love to brainstorm possible scenario hooks for either a) all-Orlanthi[1] or b) all-Troll parties. Here's what I have so far: Apple Lane I've never read or played the original but I have the "return to Apple Lane" scenario from the HeroQuest Sartar Companion. It's statless but I should fairly easily be able to stat up the antagonists and it's pretty much the de rigeur introduction-to-Glorantha scenario. The only concern I have is that if the PCs choose to attack the Dragonewts then I wouldn't quite know how to handle their stats, but that sounds like a solvable problem. Uz Eat Puny Scorpions. Need salt! What it says on the tin. An all-troll party ventures forth from the Troll Woods in pursuit of a Chaos incursion stemming from the Haunted Lands. To go beyond a simple combat meat-grinder throw in some or all of the following: Orlanthi illuminates from Old Wind temple, Sun-Dome mercenaries, Lunar peacekeeping troops, Heortling farmers, each of whom have their own attitudes both to Chaos and to Trolls. But I want something that's deeper and better than these ideas. Any thoughts? 1) with maaaaaybe one Humakti Duck tucked in there
  5. I don't believe that such a thing was planned. I've been toying with working on a couple of one-shot introductions for players at a local D&D meetup but so far all I've actually done is create stats for a set of Orlanthi PCs: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dtXoiaEu8_Wthza6flMT2Xk9DQvSmvQzuLw1T6bJke0/edit?usp=sharing
  6. We had a long argument about the delimiters of "basic attacks" on the 13th Age Google Plus group recently https://plus.google.com/100723868528171387105/posts/T47cb512y4p What I took from that discussion is that the designers expect the rules to be applied with more of a common-sense than a legalistic approach. The important thing is to hammer out what you as a group (led by the GM) think is a reasonable interpretation of the rules and use that. We're not aiming at Magic-the-Gathering levels of precision in terms of how rules interact. I mention that because rather than try and get into a discussion about what does and does not constitute "an attack" I'm just going to give you my off-the-cuff rulings. If they're in alignment with your responses to how you think the power should work then so much the better. If not ... no sweat, just go with what you think and you're probably good. In the Ratslaff case I would not halve the damage. The damage was set up fairly when non-berserk and then triggered like a trap by the opponent. Let them have the whole lot. In the Amanstan's Master case I would not halve the damage. The randomness of selecting the enemy makes it clear that this is a side effect not a targeted one therefore issues of tastiness should have no part in it. In the Blood Frenzy case I would not halve the damage. As the previous case, the extra damage is a side effect of the attack rather than the primary effect of the attack. In general, I would apply the tastiness modifier only to an attack roll made directly by the berserker on his or her turn against a deliberately selected target. That sounds restrictive, but it should still cover about 80% of cases.
  7. You know, this was my first reaction on reading the 13th Age rules. I thought to myself, "This game is billed as story-oriented? It wouldn't know a story-game if one came up and bit it on the ass." But having spent some time reading 13th Age books and rolling them around in my head a bit, I've found a new perspective. It's clear that 13th Age is designed for experience groups rather than novices. (In fact, it's a horrible product to try and use out-of-the-box if you don't have prior D&D experience.) As such, my reading of the Running A Game chapter is that it essentially says, you know how you like to run your game outside of combat. Just do that. Now, I personally think that my style of gaming is quite out of tune with how Messrs Tweet, Heinsoo and Laws run at their tables. Every time I read rules text about "the story" and how to make sure that the "party" keeps "following" it, I break out in hives. I want a story to emerge organically from the PCs' concerns, where core tensions about the game world and about theme are squarely embedded in character concepts from the ground up. By my lights, that's Narrativisim 101 and is the same approach taken in pretty much all the games I"ve run for the last decade - Sorcerer, Dogs In the Vineyard, The Shadow of Yesterday, Burning Wheel, Smallville/Cortex+ and Dungeon World/World of Dungeons, with just a smidgen of HeroQuest thrown in here and there. What I've come to realize is that 13th Age is an acceptable Dungeon World. That is to say that as long as play is structured around a core party/group with reasonable baked-in reasons to stay together and character concerns and conflicts are considered the B-plots I can still have a story-driven game. Dungeon World has a whole system of Moves dedicated to ramping up story and tension, but I mostly play the lighter World of Dungeons version that John Harper came up with which boils that down to you-get-what-you-want/you-get-what-you-want-BUT/AND.../you-don't-get-what-you-want. So when I call for rolls I almost always set the difficulty to Hard for the environment tier and allow a success-BUT/AND... for characters who miss by 0-5. Then I frame lots of opportunities for checks using the same tools that Dungeon World already gives me and work hard to make sure that what's at stake on each check is truly consequential. I explicitly don't "fail forward" in the described manner where PC success/failure on a given roll largely impacts the color and framing of how you get to the next fight scene. Instead, I try hard to make the resultant story strongly driven by PC skill checks and let the battles arise organically where they may. Typically it's enough to have stat blocks to hand for the major antagonists of a story and let the PCs determine when or if they fight. If you end up with fewer battles this way you can make up for it by making many of them double strength, which both makes them more awesome and also means that full heal-ups and incremental advances still march on apace. The final component is to remember that battles are contests too and make sure that there is a clear, significant story goal at stake for each battle so that the players understand going in what it is that they will lose if they are defeated or have to retreat. Honestly, when I run TSoY or HeroQuest I find that about 80% of contests are resolved with single rolls and only 20% invoke Bringing Down the Pain/extended contests. If I squint I can see 13A skill checks/battles as having the same split. It does mean that martial/fighty stuff will always be extended and all other kinds of challenge will not but I've come to see that as basically the price of entry for playing a D&D variant in the first place. Anyway, I'm not trying to say I'm-right-you're-wrong here, but as someone who's struggled with a similar concern and gotten to what I consider a good place relative to it I wanted to share these thoughts. Hope this is of use to someone.
  8. This is (mostly) what I was looking for: the template or lens for framing the conflict and the motivations. This is extremely useful to me. Here's what I know: My murder victim was a Devotee of Teelo Norri but she was also an Illuminated initiate of the Red Moon and had replaced her Moon Rune with the Chaos Rune Per HQ:G, an Illuminate has the ability to conceal their Runes from those around them so that the precise status of their Runes cannot be divined Although seemingly on the surface to be a charitable do-gooder, she was secretly involved in some chaotic activity ... ... the upshot of which caused her death I am kind of excited about including Scorpion Men (and Women) in this scenario. I think they're cool. Moreover, one of the pregen PCs is a Centaur Trader from Beast Valley who's invested in the state of relations between the folk of newly Lunarized Duck Point and the Beast Folk. My take is that although your or I might not see much difference between half-man-half-horse and half-man-half-scorpion, Gloranthans, and particularly Beast Folk see a world of difference. And perhaps the fact that others don't see it so clearly causes Beast Folk to be extra sensitive/emotional about the issue. I have pretty good plot hooks for up to 5 PCs now as pertaining to the murder, the deceased and their (conflicting) desires to investigate, cover it up, learn the deceased's secrets, keep the peace and/or achieve justice. This thread has been most helpful. Thank you and feel free to keep it comin'.
  9. Thanks for the responses, folks. After giving the matter some thought, I think I am going to go with Chaos worship after all. It's the classical Gloranthan original sin. It's thematic. It avoids lots of silliness with regard to Ducks (even though I am pro-Durulz and intend to weave them into a longer campaign if I ever get it off the ground, that's not what I'm going for here). The Vivamort/Upland Marsh stuff is cool too, but zombies are just so over-done that I think Chaos plays better to the strengths of the Gloranthan setting. So that brings me to a follow-up question: What does Chaos want? I mean, I know what Cthulhu cultists want. And I know what Chaos cultists in Warhammer's Old World want, but I'm a little vague what Gloranthan Chaos worshippers actually do. Do they just use the power of Chaos to fuel other magics? Do they open portals/gateways to realms of Chaos? Mutate existing beings? Make sacrifices to and worship the Old Ones^H^H^H Unholy Trio? Um ... other stuff? And what's the deal with "turning into a chaos monster" -- is it all Nurgle's rot and then you turn into Sidney Crumb from Captain Britain (now there's an obscure reference for you) or is it something different?
  10. Whoa. A lot of interesting information here. I'm going to fire off some scattershot responses to various points people have made: 1. I've never played RuneQuest in any form and the only edition I own is the (heretical) MRQII. As such, I don't have a particular handle on "battle magic" and what it should mean. I'll be running this game using HQ:G and as such magic will be rather more freeform. I found Ian Cooper's response about ritual and personal magic quite helpful from this perspective. 2. Quite whom the besiegers are is a little vague. The references I've picked up indicate that the Lunar army combined with a mercenary force from Volsaxiland led by Duke Sanuel sieged Road End fort, but they also imply that Sanuel was the overall commander of that force which makes it unlikely that there was a substantial presence from eg. the Lunar College of Magic as I can't picture them taking orders from a foreign mercenary. Instead I imagine any Lunar troops to be Tarshite peltasts and other medium-light grade troops with low magical capabilities. Sanuel will have wizards of his own but it will be whatever magic he's brought from Volsaxiland, not the powerful magics of the moon. In this context the idea of disease spirits sounds pretty cool. 3. I don't have any prior experience as a Gloranthan GM and running at a con I need to make the game accessible for an entirely Glorantha-illiterate audience. As such, I want a firm grounding in an intuitively plausible situation that neither requires deep historical knowledge of bronze age warfare nor familiarity with Gloranthan magic systems. At the same time, I want to make choices that don't violate the Gloranthan reality. As such, having a primarily physical contest with personal augments helping heroes on both sides and one or two strategic uses of ritual magic feels about right. Having the enemy do a clever magical thing definitely makes sense and adds fun; having them doing six clever magical things at once will make the game muddy and hard to follow. 4. I'm interested in the idea of "Gnomes" and their significance for siege warfare. Are they earth elementals or something quite other? They're not something I've come across in my Gloranthan readings to date. Thanks again for all the thoughtful replies here. I've learned a lot from them, even ones that aren't immediately germane to the needs of my particular game.
  11. This is what my game is all about. The pitch I submitted reads I'm interested in that final moment of breakdown when the writing is on the wall and the end is clearly nigh. The players will generate their own agendas for their PCs and explain what they're doing in Road End to begin with and then we'll just crank into play until the whole thing comes tumbling down.
  12. Thanks for the correction. But to my question, how come?
  13. Are there a lot of Morokanth near Duck Point? I thought they were more of a Praxian thing.
  14. Spoiler warning: In the incredibly unlikely event that you might be playing in one of my games at this year's u-con, please avoid this thread. First-time poster here, long-time Glorantha reader and excited to be running my first two Gloranthan games - a pair of one-shots at a gaming con this fall. For my Heroquest: Glorantha one-shot I will be running the last night of the siege of Road End, one of the forts that King Tarkalor, Troll-Killer created on the road he built to Whitewall to protect the land and travelers from the depradations of the Kitori half-Trolls. According to the Heroquest Dragon Pass book, the fort was besieged and eventually conquered by an army of mercenaries from Volsaxiland led by Baron Sanuel. I think I know a little bit about bronze age siege warfare and what that would be like, but I'm still wrapping my head around how to think about Gloranthan magic and particularly its tactical, militaristic use. What kinds of magic would a besieging army use? And what kinds of magic would the defenders have access to? Ideally, I'd like the defenders to have been able to hold out for several weeks or even months of siege so the two should be somewhat balanced. I think there's precedent for that since eg. Boldhome held out against the Imperial Army for a much more extended time than that.
  15. Spoiler warning: In the incredibly unlikely event that you are going to be playing in one of my games at u-con in November, please don't read this thread. First time poster here. I'm running a Gloranthan murder mystery using the Cortex + system at a convention in November and I have a question. The setup is that during the time of the Imperial occupation a Heortling stick-picker has found the bones of a murdered Imperial citizen lodged amongst the mud in the banks of the Stream near Duck Point. The PCs are going to be a motley association of Lunar-penumbra characters who get pulled in by the provincial overseer of Duck Point to help investigate with the threat of heavy-handed action from the Imperial Army hanging over them if they don't move quickly. Ideally, I want to be able to reveal that the victim was involved in some extremely unsavory practices -- something that would be shocking, even for cynical, world-weary Lunars. The obvious Gloranthan taboo is consorting with Chaos, but given the Empire's permissive attitude towards Chaos I'm not sure that makes sense...? Any thoughts on what would make for a good reveal? I'd like to stay away from the standard icky-boos like rape and child abuse because 1) they're hackneyed and 2) I want to keep it PG-13 as I don't know what kind of audience I'll get at the con.
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