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About Gallowglass

  • Rank
    Senior Member


  • RPG Biography
    I've been into tabletop RPG's since college, mostly D&D, with some other systems and story games along the way. Typically I am the GM for my group. I occasionally write about and review games about my blog, Castle Mordrigault. I've also done some freelance game writing for End Transmission Games, and Menagerie Press.
  • Current games
    I don't get to play as often as I would like, but most recently I have run campaigns for 5th edition D&D in the Planescape setting, and for Unknown Armies 3rd edition.

    My current game of Runequest: Glorantha takes place among the newly reforged Dundealos Tribe, and follows a Sartarite clan of my own creation struggling to rebuild and survive the challenges of the Hero Wars.
  • Location
    Western Massachusetts
  • Blurb
    I am interested in gaming, fiction, history and mythology.

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  1. This was pretty much the story of my life while I was running my last campaign. And for the record I think shamans are supposed to have two POW scores for attack and defense, with rules as written. Our shaman was a powerhouse, although when she went into the spirit world alone, it was a different story. Those were the times when I could really make her player sweat.
  2. That post was what got me thinking about this. I wrote up a bunch of tribes for Oranor a while ago, more than 20, but now I'm wondering if it makes sense to have that many. The thing is, as far as worldbuilding goes tribes are a nice way to organize things. Every tribe kind of has their own "thing." Then you pick a tribe that's interesting and make up clans. But increasingly Sartar is looking like an unusual case, with so many tribes compared to smaller numbers of clans.
  3. I think some clans are inextricable from tribal kingship. At least that's how I imagine these things happening. Like how the Ernaldori are really the biggest and most influential of the Colymar clans. There seem to be clans who basically control towns or other important resources. I would imagine that these tribal resources start there.
  4. This makes sense. But it's interesting that Sartar has a comparatively low population (roughly 125,000), but has so many tribes. Oranor in comparison has almost three times as many people, so again, I don't think they just go in clans.
  5. It's worth mentioning that the Guide mentions a few Orlanthi peoples who specifically don't form tribes, on p. 31. Oranor, Nimistor, Brolia, Keanos, Surkorian, and Basim. For the record, I don't agree with Oranor. They have cities and are described as having a king of some kind, so I think it takes greater political organization for that to happen. Otherwise I think what these people have in common is that they live in remote areas, and don't have any serious existential threats nearby. There are also several Orlanthi regions that are dominated by powerful overlords, so it seems like that would discourage the formation of tribes or kings. All the kingdoms under the control of the Lunar Empire for example would probably have small, weak tribes, if they have any at all. I remember the Unspoken Word #1 goes into this a little bit on Tarsh, but I forget how it works specifically. Other examples I can think of that probably have weak or nonexistent tribes would be Jonatela, Heortland (especially during Belintar's reign), maybe even Esrolia.
  6. There are a lot of "Orlanthi" people in Glorantha, but the ones we've gotten the closest look at are the Sartarites. Within a relatively small region, they have organized into 20+ tribes, with kings and everything that goes with it (I'm including the Far Place tribes). Up until recently I think I've allowed that model to dominate my perception of how Orlanthi people organize themselves socially. But lately I've been wondering how common the Sartar model is (lots of tribes, each with anywhere from 3,000-10,000 population) when compared to other Orlanthi around the lozenge. I'm also curious about Orlanthi that don't use the Orlanth Rex cult as the basis for creating and maintaining tribes. I think it was introduced by Alakoring in the Second Age, so I would think this is a thing in Ralios, and further south. But what about Peloria, where Orlanth worship is suppressed? Or more distant places like Fronela or Umathela?
  7. I’m not an art expert, but I really appreciate your illustrations, not to mention the research you’re doing, and the willingness to explore parts of the setting that Chaosium won’t get to for years. Also, it’s kind of ridiculous that anyone would criticize the art in a Jonstown Compendium work, in my opinion.
  8. I’m gonna plug Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner for a good depiction of shamans and spirit hijinks, also plenty of action and drama. It’s a bit long though. +1 for Ten Canoes as well.
  9. Hello, I am currently preparing to run a play-by-post campaign set in Esrolia. I was thinking of using the excellent Esrolian House questionnaire created by @jajagappa, and I was wondering if he (or anyone else) has it posted somewhere in a completed form or document? I have been looking over the questionnaire on the RPGGeek forum, but it would be easier if I had the questions all together somewhere to consult. The forum also doesn't mention what the "rewards" are for each possible choice, presumably because it was being shared with players.
  10. I think it’s named after Zarkos. The same map in the Guide pdf has it named “Ozarkos.” They’re a whole different bunch of goat people, they show up in Six Ages.
  11. I think it was Wooly Rhinos. But there is an illustration in the Sourcebook of a mammoth tusk harpoon showing all the gods Vadrus had killed.
  12. Y'know, I was just thinking earlier this morning that maybe the original Fronelan Orlanthi became the modern Noyalings. In my half-asleep state, I also got stuck on the word "Frolanthi." I always thought of them as "fallen Hsunchen" who started farming and building cities, but Muskoxen do have a strong "Vadrus Vibe." The Noyalings also were possibly closer to Akem, so it's easier to explain how they came into conflict there. One interesting guy in First Age Fronela is Dakal, the founder of the city of Ayos in Jonatela, and the "Kingdom of Dakal." He is described in the Guide as a Hero who fought with Talor and Harmast, then founded Ayos after the war ended. He seems like a pretty good candidate for "Leader of Frolanthi" during this period. I always imagined him as a rogue Talsardian who went West with his people, but maybe he was a Muskox Vadrudi who came from the north.
  13. Yes, distinct from the Enjoreli and the Hsunchen. I'd love to learn more about that, I can't find much in the Guide that mentions these folks. Everything I've read suggests that Fronelan Storm worship either came from the East (or maybe over the mountains), or existed on the isolated fringes like Ygg's Islands. Up until now I've assumed that Third Age Orlanthi in the region descend from Bull People, Theyalans from Peloria or Ralios, and Hsunchen.
  14. That's a good point, and while initially I was thinking Talsardians, these mysterious Orlanthi could be from anywhere, including Ralios.
  15. So these people were there at the Dawn as well, living alongside but distinctive from the Hsunchen? Or are you a proponent of @Joerg's theory that the Enjoreli basically became Orlanthi, and the two become interchangeable. This is something that I had considered, and makes the most sense. I guess the only part that's still confusing is what this part of the Bright Empire is doing while Talor is dead. Maybe their leaders manipulated the Orlanthi into attacking Akem.
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