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Everything posted by Gallowglass

  1. Storm Season Postscript There was one important detail I forgot to mention in my last entry. Actually, we forgot to address it in actual gameplay too, so we had to do a flashback of sorts. One of the main reasons Erindros proposed the joint raid on the Sambari clan was to liberate thralls, and then offer them a place in the clan as cottars. Even with the former Enstalos cottars bolstering the population, the Bardori are still at just over half their former numbers before 1618. The party was able to liberate just over 100 thralls in the big raid, they were mainly composed of 3 distinct groups. Sartarites - These were the biggest group, made up of former outlaws and indentures who had fallen into debt. Most of them agreed to join the Bardori clan, and Erindros was able to convince the chieftain this would be a good idea. Praxians - Mostly Impala and Bison Riders. Egajia attempted to convince them they would be welcome in the clan, but I gave her a pretty hefty penalty for her roll, due to the Praxian distrust of the settled lifestyle. All of the Praxians decided to take their chances on the plains, and attempt to find their former clans. Egajia generously gave the group a portion of her loot, to help them purchase new mounts. For this I gave her a free 1% bump in reputation. ??? - The third group were mysterious to the PC's, and no one could figure out where they came from. They spoke a strange dialect of Heortling, and didn't have any identifying marks or tattoos. One of them came forward to explain that his people were purchased by the Rastorlings from the Sun Dome Temple to the west. They called themselves "Ergeshi," and claimed to worship their own gods and ancestor spirits, although none of their past owners had allowed them to worship these. Their spokesman claimed that they had kin in the Holy Country, but that they would not be welcome there, having been isolated from them for generations. Egajia was personally offended that their worship rights had been denied to them, and insisted on offering them a place with the Bardori. The Clan Ring debated whether it was a good idea to let them stay or not, as they were "weird and unsettling," but the issue was allowed to lapse, and they hung around, out of sight and out of mind. Sea Season 1626 - Planning an Expedition Here were the local and major events that occurred in Sea Season - Kallyr Starbrow failed in her Short Lightbringer's Quest, with serious consequences for all of Sartar. Chaos attacks were reputed to be on the rise, and the Prince's position as leader of the kingdom became much more tenuous. The Bardori had cattle and sheep stolen by their immediate neighbors in the Balkoth Tribe, the Wozer clan. Argrath White Bull has been building a new army in Pavis, and gathering more Praxian warriors to his cause. He is rumored to be planning an attack on the Lunar Empire, or their allies. Would-be heroes from many clans have gone to explore the ruins of Fort Enstala, but none have returned. We discussed what the PC's next course of action would be. Erindros expressed interest in planning a trade expedition, either to Pavis or the Holy Country. Egajia felt ready to attempt her shaman initiation, but was willing to wait until other business took them back into Prax. Garkar was on board with a trade mission. Between Nochet and Pavis, the group decided that going east would be a better idea. Egajia could visit her mentor, and the clan could reestablish old trading links with the their distant kin in Pavis, and among the Pol-Joni. They did some calculations, and decided it would be prudent to ask the clan for a loan for purchasing mules, trade goods, and other equipment. They met with the chieftain and the Inner Ring, and made their case. The Issaries representative on the Ring, Stolf Argin's Son, was the head of a Bardori bloodline which had long controlled the clan's trading interests. His family considered Erindros and close kin to be rivals, and the feeling was mutual. Stolf argued that an expedition to Pavis would be reckless and dangerous, and that the clan should instead work to reestablish regular caravans in Sartar, and expand their influence in Swenstown. Egajia is generally the party spokesperson in these situations (which is funny because she only speaks a little Heortling), and she tried to rouse the Inner Ring's excitement by pitching the journey as an adventure that would be worthy of a clan of heroes. Once again, she fumbled on her roll. Her player explained this by inadvertently putting emphasis on the dangerous aspects of the journey - "Only a clan of true heroes could face the hordes of broos, screaming nomad warriors, cannibals, whirlvishes, dust storms, etc!!!" The chieftain and the Ring refused to give them a single clack. They would have to fund their expedition themselves. They tried to think of a way to quickly get some disposable income. Raiding was out of the question, as most of the clan was involved in sowing the crops. Garkar pointed out that Fort Enstala was rumored to still have piles of silver hidden away somewhere. The party agreed to check out the ruins. Before they did so, another exile arrived in town from Prax. He Who Spits at Chaos Our newest PC, hereafter known as HWSAC or He Who Spits, rode into town and introduced himself to the chieftain. He was boisterously welcomed and offered mead. HWSAC is a follower of Storm Bull, who had spent his exile in Prax riding with a mixed band of Sartarites, Pol-Joni, and Praxians, all Storm Bull cultists. He returned to his kin upon learning of their resettlement. He also harbored ambitions to build a shrine in honor to his god, which would double as a beer hall. He immediately pitched his idea to the chieftain, who responded with hesitancy. Being strapped for cash, and hearing of his other kinfolk going raiding in a potentially Chaos-infested ruin, he asked to join them. They welcomed him along, thinking that his skills could be useful. Fort Enstala The fort was the capitol of the Enstalos Tribe from 1618 to it's recent destruction in 1625, after the Dragonrise. The chieftain, Angarr Broad-Back, was present when the fort was attacked and razed. He met with the PC's before they set off to describe it's layout. The fort itself consisted of a stone tower, with a surrounding village and temple, all encircled by a wooden palisade. He mentioned that Blackmane had allowed the Lunar garrison to evacuate their women, children, and elderly before the attack, but some had insisted on staying. The outer wall was easily breached, but the garrison held out in the tower for days. In the end, someone had lit a fire which consumed part of the structure. The remaining soldiers either fled, or burned to death. None of Blackmane's warriors were able to breach the Temple of the Seven Mothers. It was apparently guarded by a powerful spirit or demon, in addition to more warriors, and so they left it alone. With this information in mind, the party set off. The fort was located in the foothills of the Stormwalk Mountains, and technically lay within Togarth lands. This was a complication, as that clan might decide that any loot within the ruins might belonged rightfully to them (even though they had so far failed to take it). At Angarr's suggestion, the PC's decided they would initially go to the fort in secret, but then offer a portion of any treasure they found to the Togarth chieftain out of respect. They traveled north for a day, through the foothills, and arrived without incident. SEE AWFUL MAP ABOVE - Entering the ruins was simple enough, as the walls had been breached and the main gates destroyed. The former village was in shambles, with most of the longhouses partially burnt down, and overgrown with vines. Nothing of major interest was discovered. The party continued to the fortified tower. Here they found many corpses in various states of decay. Most were in a charred pile near the base. Other bodies were found that were more fresh, appearing to be slain Togarth adventurers. Most curious of all were several dusty skeletons, wearing antique hoplite armor. Erindros recalled various painted urns he had seen depicting Dara Happan soldiers from the First Age, which these seemed to resemble. Before investigating the tower, Egajia used Second Sight to see if she could locate any ghosts or spirits. She was not disappointed. She witnessed dozens of ghosts arrayed around the tower, some of them resembling Sartarite warriors, and others Lunar soldiers. They were locked in combat, and ignored Egajia completely. They appeared to be caught in a loop, reliving their final moments in the battle to capture the tower. The PC's decided they needed to learn more before they could help lay any of these spirits to rest. Within the tower itself, they found more of the odd armored skeletons slumped against the wall. Unlike the ones outside, these were the moving variety, and they attacked. HWSAC proved his combat prowess here, using Berserker and smashing skeletal limbs and heads with his maul. It didn't actually take very long to wipe them out, and Egajia had to use a Sleep spell to put him out of commission, before he turned on his companions. The party left their new Storm Bull friend asleep outside, and continued to explore the tower. Egajia used Detect Enemies to see if any other threats were inside. She felt a malevolent presence on the second floor, and so everyone attempted a stealthy approach going up. Unfortunately, they all had to climb a creaking wooden ladder going up, and everyone failed their roll. The second floor was partially collapsed, and a man watched them from the darkness. He was dressed like a local, either a hunter or else a bandit. Yet he also wore a Lunar officer's plumed helmet and cloak, and had a wild, haggard appearance. He demanded they help defend the tower from "the accursed rebels," and then began asking what regiment they were with. Egajia immediately suspected possession by a ghost or spirit. She used Second Sight to confirm this, and tried casting her Free Ghost spell to remove the possessor. The spell worked, and the man fell unconscious. Soon after another man, who looked to be in even worse shape than the last, called down to the party from the top of the tower. He introduced himself as Bermakt, and claimed to be a hunter who was passing through the area with his companions. One of these was a woman named Yandissa, who was badly wounded at the top of the tower. The other was named Harstar, who was the man possessed by the spirit. Bermakt was otherwise very vague about which clan they came from, or why they were in the ruins in the first place They had been camped near the tower, when they were attacked by the armored skeletons and chased in. Soon after, Harstar began acting strange, and attacked the other two. They managed to climb up to the roof, where they had lain for an entire day. The party offered to heal them and give them supplies. Bermakt warned them that they had seen the skeletons come out of the Seven Mothers Temple, and that a voice had told them to leave when they tried to enter. The PC's did a little more exploring in the tower, and then moved on to the temple. It was a rectangular structure, built of marble. The outer walls were decorated with scenes of the Red Goddess's victories, and a large red globe protruded from the top of the temple. The first room contained a series of small shrines with votive images, devoted to many different Lunar deities. The party was not able to admire them long, as He Who Spits began smashing and defacing them with his maul. Immediately after that, a horrible creature materialized out of thin air. Eight feet tall, four-armed, fanged, and with skin coated in black slime, it introduced itself as the temple's guardian, a demon of the underworld who served the Red Goddess. HWSAC's Chaos sense was tingling, and without any hesitation called on Storm Bull to fill him again with the holy rage. The others stood back and cast magic while the berserker went after the demon. It drove it's claws into his stomach, and raked his arms, but then He Who Spits aimed for the head, and rolled a critical. Overcoming the demon's (very high) armor, he crushed it's head like a rotting pumpkin. The demon, now headless, turned, walked into the altar room, and disappeared. HWSAC gave chase, but it had apparently discorporated. He then set about trying to bring down the temple by smashing it's supporting pillars. Egajia used Detect Enemies to see if the demon was still present. She found that it was, although it's presence seemed to be dispersed throughout the temple. The party was now in the main hall of worship, where there was an altar, and a silver plaque depicting the goddess. The hall was littered with the bodies Enstalos men, women, and children, in an advanced state of decay. Something had brutally killed the people who had fled to the temple for safety. Each adjoining chamber was a smaller shrine to each of the Seven Mothers. Egajia searched each one, using Second Sight. She eventually found the demon in incorporeal form, hiding within the altar to Queen Deezola. She bested it in spirit combat, but even this would not drive it away completely, as it continued to flee to the other shrines. The party decided they needed to loot the place before the demon could reconstitute itself. HWSAC eventually came out of his rage before the building came down. The party went through each room, some of which were trapped with Safe spells. In the dormitories they found an old man, and a young girl dressed as Teelo Norri. The man turned out to be a wraith, mad with grief and rage. Egajia defeated it, and trapped it within a charm she had kept as a family heirloom. The girl was a ghost, but not hostile. She told the party that she had been hiding with her parents in the temple during the attack. The junior priest had called the temple guardian to fight off the Dundealos raiders, but then lost control of it. It turned on everyone inside, killing all her kinfolk. She did not seem to be aware that she had died. Egajia again used the Free Ghost spell to give her rest. The vaults on the upper floor of the temple held silver, trinkets, and valuables including silk and rare books. The PC's took as much as they could carry, and made ready to leave. They noticed as they were prying off the silver plaque, that there was a passageway underneath the altar. Egajia crept down it and used various Detect spells to see if anything dangerous was there. A tunnel ran beneath the temple, into what appeared to be a large barrow. She sensed many beings ahead of her that sounded like the skeletons from before. She raced back up, and tried to block the entryway. Erindros realized that the large globe that hung above them, made of interlocking bronze plates, was suspended with ropes and wedges. He and Garkar cut the ropes, and knocked the globe free (after everyone cleared the area). It fell onto the altar, crushing it, and fully blocked the tunnel entrance. The heroes then ran for it, dragging their many spoils behind them. They determined to come back at some point, and permanently exorcise the place of it's remaining ghosts, and demon(s?). But for now they had what they needed. Behind the Scenes I spent a lot of time planning this adventure, since it was our first dungeon experience. There were a lot of things the players ignored or avoided because they had burned through their resources fairly quickly. These include- The 3-Headed Dragonsnail from the map - I included it just to give the Storm Bull player something to use his abilities on, but he used his spells really quickly on other (non-Chaotic) things, and it didn't seem fair to hit everyone with such a tough monster after that, for no story-related reason. The Priestess' quarters - The former priestess of the temple was the one who bound the demon to serve as a guardian, and she knew of various ways to control it, mostly based on impersonating the Red Goddess. Had the PC's been unable to defeat it, they could have tried some more theatrical solutions. Honestly the demon was pretty tough, he had 15 armor and 15 hp! I just didn't count on that critical hit, and he almost rolled maximum damage to the head. That's the way it goes sometimes (sigh). The possessed guy also had a Seven Mothers "rosary" amulet that they could have used to repel the demon, had they examined it or tried using it. They took it off him, but forgot all about it afterwards. There was also a Trickster NPC that I wrote up who would have acted as a sort of unreliable guide, but we just didn't have enough time in the evening to fit him in. Anyway, next time the party sets off on their big trip to Pavis. Thanks for reading!
  2. Edit: I've decided to add more of my AWFUL maps to help visualize the many different locations I'm describing. Storm Season (Off-time) At this point in the campaign, I think we had about 4 sessions under our belt. I decided that I wanted to allow the players more control over what their characters did each season, and so I took a break from the usual, "Chieftain tells you to do this for the good of the clan, so do it." Instead I started giving them a quick overview of what the clan folk were doing week by week, dropping rumors, and sharing news about what the other clans and neighbors were up to. My hope was that they would either choose something interesting to look into, or come up with a scheme of their own. At the beginning of the Storm Season, the events were as follows- In spite of their vindication, the Bardori are still angry at the Togarth clan. There are disputes about stolen pasture land, and their chieftain also refuses to return the cattle that were lost the previous season. The Balkoth clans, in particular the Wozer (another one I created) are hitting everyone in the valley with repeated cattle raids. Now that they don't have to herd goats anymore, they are replenishing their herds (although they still have the goats). Fort Enstala, the ruined capitol of the late Enstalos Tribe, is rumored to be haunted by vengeful ghosts and demons. It is also rumored to still have treasure hidden in the Temple of the Seven Mothers, passed over by Blackmane's raiders. Chieftain Angarr has forbidden anyone from raiding until next year. He feels the focus should be on rebuilding steads, repairing defenses, and reestablishing old ties of friendship and trade with other clans. In spite of this, the young weaponthanes are chomping at the bit, and ready to fight their own neighbors. The atmosphere is a bit tense. Erindros agrees with the chieftain that feuding with the Togarth would be a bad thing, and cattle raiding may not be enough to satisfy the hotblooded warriors. He comes up with a plan that will hopefully improve relations with the Togarth, and also let the warriors test their mettle. Storm Season: The Big Raid (or, Everyone Hates the Sambari Tribe) Political Map of Dundealos Valley Erindros' idea was this. He, Egajia and Garkar would go to the Togarth chieftain as emissaries, bearing gifts and offering to smooth over recent disputes. They would then propose a joint raid as one-time allies against a common enemy: the Sambari Tribe to the northwest. The Sambari are famous thrallholders, and many of their clans once paid annual tribute to the Togarth, who would go raiding against them otherwise. Since the Dundealos Tribe was disbanded, they have not had to worry about this of course. Raiding one of their clans, specifically the Rastorlings, would help to reestablish the old tributes. The Bardori have no quarrel with any Sambari clans (except for Garkar of course), but they would benefit by liberating and adopting more thralls. Erindros and Egajia convinced the chieftain and the Inner Ring that this would be a good idea. They then had to visit the Togarth chieftain, Arnsulva One-Eye, and convince her. The party got a cool reception at first, and had to suffer various insults from Arnsulva, a Vingan warrior. Then Garkar, bolstered with magic and fueled by his irrational hatred of the Sambari, convinced the Togarth thanes that the thrallholders needed to be taught a lesson. He also impressed the chieftain, and plans for a joint raiding party were agreed upon. The Togarth would send the chieftain's eldest daughter Orane, a warrior of Humakt, and eighty warriors. The Bardori would send one hundred, led by the PC's and a member of the Inner Ring named Leif Lightspear. Leif was a Sun Thane of Elmal, and originally from the Pol-Joni. Before setting out on the raid, the clan prepared with rituals and prayers to their war gods (mainly Orlanth, Elmal, and Humakt). The chieftain presented the Black Arrow to the clan's warriors, and took part in the masked war dances. The next morning the raiders set out north, and met up with the Togarth contingent on the way. Rastorling lands would take a full day and a half to reach. On the way, the raiders would have to pass through the Ulandring clan's territory. The Ulandrings are a Dundealos clan, and in my version of the setting, are the more cool-headed parent clan of the Togarth. They allowed the party to pass without issue, and even allowed a few of their own warriors to join the raid. The Rastorling clan (I can't remember if I made them up or not) are based in the northern Tantrell Hills around a hill fort, simply called Rastorl's Fort. The raiding party camped for the night at the edge of Ulandring territory, then struck out the next morning. They stayed under the cover of woods as they approached the fort, and Garkar scouted ahead to help everyone avoid the border patrols. The raiders managed to reach the fort itself without being discovered, and were thus able to strike before the full Rastorling militia was prepared. The fort's defenders numbered about 100, including the farmers nearby who took up arms. Before the two sides clashed in battle, challenges were called out. One particularly obnoxious warrior named Orlestan "Mad-Beard" was getting under Garkar's skin, and he met the warrior's challenge. Unfortunately, Orlestan had a Lightning spell prepared, and nearly blew off poor Garkar's sword arm. Garkar decided the duel wasn't going well, and used his Leap spell to get safely back to his allies, and Egajia's healing magic. The battle was then met. The raiders outnumbered the defenders, and again Erindros' leadership skills in battle helped to win the day. The defenders were driven back into the fort. Rastorl's Fort boasted a high stone wall and a stout gate, and the raiders had little hope of breaching it. Erindros realized however that the Rastorlings' most valuable assets, their thralls, were also likely imprisoned in the fort. He went to the front gate, dodging arrows as he went, and attempted to rouse the thralls within to fight back against their captors, and open the gate for their future liberators. Perhaps sensing an opportunity, the thralls within (who now outnumbered the Rastorling defenders) responded, and after a short brawl within, raised the main gate for the raiders. They swarmed into the fort, and the looting began. Further Complications The raid was a success. The Togarth warriors were allowed to take the larger share of silver and loot, while the Bardori rustled the cattle, stole food, and rounded up as many thralls as they could find to offer them freedom. Erindros, Egajia and Garkar were overseeing this process when they noticed something odd. By this time, it was late afternoon, and the sun was sinking low. Yet, from the southwest, a massive shadow was quickly approaching. It looked as if night was falling, but only over a region a few miles across. Suspecting that some foul magic was at play, they ran off to warn Leif and the other raiders. No sooner had they done so, when a cold shadow swept over the Rastorlings' entire tula. The sun became a dim blot in the sky, and general visibility was reduced to only a few meters. Soon after this, the PC's began hearing terrifying howls, grunts and squeals. A band of trollkin wielding spears came loping out of the darkness, and tried to engage the party. Egajia also sensed through Second Sight that other, more powerful creatures were staying hidden and watching in the darkness. They all decided unanimously that they were too spent to fight any kind of troll, and retreated. The trollkin couldn't keep up with them, and they escaped successfully. Unfortunately, the darkness combined with the bewildering noises made it difficult to find their way, and everyone became lost. After a few hours of wandering, the strange darkness dissipated, and gave way to actual night. The PC's found Leif Lightspear and other Bardori warriors under the effects of a Sunbright spell. They learned from him that trolls had swept in to take advantage of the chaos and carry off prisoners and cattle. The giant shadow was apparently a massive elemental, of the kind found in Shadow's Dance. Among the prisoners taken was the Togarth chieftain's daughter, Orane. The party was then faced with a difficult choice. They felt they needed to save Orane, as it was the honorable thing to do, and it could also potentially put the Togarth chieftain in their debt. By this point however, they had spent their rune magic, and other resources as well (augments, MP). Still, they decided to follow the trail of the Uz war party (which was not hard to find at all). Their quickly improvised plan was to ask Leif to use his remaining rune magic to distract the trolls, while they crept in and rescued Orane. The trolls had left to the south, into thick woods. The party borrowed horses, and rode along with Leif and a few others to follow them. The trolls left a trail of mangled brush and discarded bones that was not hard to follow, even in the dark. The rescuers found that the trolls were traveling with several giant rhinoceros beetles, laden with spoils (mostly food), and crude cages to store prisoners. These were mostly Togarth warriors, many wounded and unconscious. There were dozens of trolls present, and twice as many trollkin. Thankfully, Leif's distraction worked as he blinded the trolls with light, and set trees on fire. Most of them gave chase. Garkar and Erindros freed as many Togarth captives as they could, but were not able to heal those who were otherwise too wounded. They found the chieftain's daughter, who was unconscious, and carried her back to the horses. Several trolls noticed the heroes escaping, but Egajia still had plenty of MP left for Sleep spells. They escaped, as did Leif, and the trolls did not bother pursuing. The group had to go the long way around Rastorling land and avoid their patrols again, which they managed to do. They were reunited with the raiding party, and breathed a collective sigh of relief. All in all, the raid could still be counted as a success. The Togarth were furious at having their men taken as food by the trolls, but none of them blamed the Bardori or the PC's. Orane, when she came to, gave them her thanks. The raiding party returned the way they had come. Arnsulva One-Eye praised the PC's heroism at rescuing her eldest daughter, and threw a feast to celebrate the successful raid. While she could not be convinced to set up a permanent alliance between the two clans, she admitted that she was in their debt. Sacred Time 1625 Originally I had planned to make Sacred Time a separate adventure unto itself, but the timing didn't really work out. Instead it was treated as part of the seasonal off-time. I narrated the story of the Lightbringer's Quest, and each PC took part in a ceremony for their respective gods. Egajia was off in Prax for most of the two weeks, celebrating Daka Fal's high holy days. Here is how the Sacred Time sequence from the core rules worked out for everyone- Worship ceremonies - None of the PC's had more than 4 rune points with their gods, and they manage to recover them in previous weeks. Heroquest - No one felt like they were ready for this, and I didn't have to time to invent my own Heroquesting rules (can't wait for the Campaign/GM book to come out!!!) Harvest - For modifiers, the omens of the previous year were Ill-Favored, due to the Dragonrise and general instability in the region. I also considered the attack from the Lunar garrison to count as Light Raiding (-10% modifier). This added up to a -20% for the Harvest roll. The result was Bad. People were hungry, and barely scraping by, but at least it wasn't a famine. Adventurer Income - Despite the poor harvest, Erindros and Egajia succeeded with their rolls. Garkar did not (should have spent more time on the farm I guess). Erindros' player realized that he did not take steps to increase his stockpiled goods, thus his merchant income was meager. For the next year, he decided he would plan a trading expedition. Aging - Everyone is in their early 20's, nothing exciting here. Family Rolls - Nobody felt motivated to get married yet. One of Garkar's uncles was blessed by Orlanth and received a magical spear. Nothing interesting happened in Egajia's family. Erindros was the big winner, fathering a son! We all tried to figure out when and how this would have logically happened. Erindros' player agreed that the big party with the Togarth clan may have resulted in a drunken liaison. This also meant the baby was not born yet, so this would give Erindros time to figure out how to take care of his new family (and if he was going to get married). Omens - I knew something of what was coming for 1626. I decided the omens would definitely be Ill-Favored again. The chieftain was the one to perform the divinations, using a sacrificed rooster of course. He went into a frightening trance, and gave the following prophecy- "The Red Moon waxes bright, Chaos grows strong. A foul wind blows from the East. A great house shall fall, and after comes war and darkness." The spilled blood from the cockerel then moved of its own accord, and formed into the distinctive shape of a woman holding two curved swords. Next time, Sea Season 1626. The next season actually contains multiple adventures, so I will summarize it in 2-3 entries. Thanks for taking the time to read about our campaign!
  3. Edit: I've added some AWFUL maps that I made in a free paint program called Artweaver. Dark Season (Off-time) To the best of my recollection, my players and I spent one session doing off-time activities, and then preparing to introduce the next big adventure. Still, they were very busy during this off-time. Sartar was in great upheaval, and emissaries arrived at the chieftain's hall claiming that Fazzur Wideread was marching on Sartar to crush the latest uprising. The PC's were given the option of joining Kallyr Starbrow in the north to defend Sartar against the Tarshite army. Partly because all the PC's had relevant Passions (Hate: Lunar Empire), and partly because they all wanted to take part in a big battle, they rode north to Swenstown and joined the 1st Swenstown Foot Militia, and then on towards Kallyr's camp at Red Cow Fort. I used the material at the end of the Eleven Lights campaign to provide details and imagery for the battle, and actually read Kallyr's speech before the big fight. In some ways this felt like cheating, because players in the Red Cow campaign have to come a long way to earn this epic finale. But I thought it encapsulated the struggles of the last few years very well, so I went for it. After a whole lot of buildup, we actually handled the Battle of Dangerford as a simple series of rolls using the Battle skill. Garkar and Egajia fought well, but Erindros (who oddly enough had the highest Battle skill) took command of a group of fighters defending the Isle Dangerous, and played a decisive role in holding off the Lunar advance. After the battle ended in fiery carnage for the Lunars, Kallyr Starbrow herself commended Erindros for his leadership. The party returned to Bardori lands in triumph, but they found that all was not well at home. The clan's ancestral spirits, who resided in a series of sanctified barrow mounds, had manifested and marched into the chieftain's hall, in a rather foul mood. They demanded to know why their descendants had deigned to keep thralls when doing so was forbidden by clan tradition. The chieftain had in fact kept about 50 survivors of the Enstalos Tribe as thralls to help finish the harvest after the Dragonrise occurred, and ensured his people wouldn't starve for the winter. The chieftain told the spirits as much, but they were unsatisfied with the answer, and threatened to withhold their blessings unless the situation was rectified. Chieftain Angarr then summoned a clan moot to discuss the issue. These Enstalos survivors were mostly women and children of Tarshite origin, although they included several families of former Dundealos who had converted to the Lunar Way. These families had joined the new Lunar tribe instead of supporting their kin in the last uprising. When they were discovered by Angarr and the returning clan, all were spared death to avoid the curse of kinstrife. The clan moot was a loud and raucous affair, and it became clear that factions were forming between different members of the Inner Ring. Two different solutions were proposed- Free the thralls and adopt them as full members of the clan, or- Sell them at a slave market, either to the Sambari Tribe or at Pimper's Block. The PC's mostly argued for the former option, with Garkar abstaining from the debate, and only saying that the Sambari Tribe didn't deserve anyone's business (Garkar hates the Sambari Tribe). On of the main sticking points for the adoption argument was that the thralls seemed reluctant to abandon the Lunar religion. The PC's were unable to sway the chieftain's opinion, and so he vowed to think on it for another week before he made a decision, and call another moot then. Dark Season - Murder and a Nighttime Raid Bardori Lands The party gathered again at the chieftain's hall a few days later, after hearing grim news. A young man of 16 had been found dead that morning at the edge of some pastureland. His name was Aldis, and he was a member of a Pol-Joni family that settled with the clan. Many of the clan's cattle had also been stolen. Some were found scattered throughout the tula, while others were sighted across the river to the north, in the lands of the Togarth clan. The Togarth are a Dundealos clan (also of my own invention), but also a War Clan who were known conduct cattle raids against fellow tribesmen. Many Bardori thanes assumed that the Togarth attempted a cattle raid that went badly for them, and Aldis was killed before he could alert the militia. More hotheaded voices demanded immediate retaliation against their northern neighbors. The chieftain called on the PC's to discretely look into Aldis's murder. He personally suspected that the Togarth had nothing to do with it, and wanted to avoid a potential feud so soon after resettling. They agreed, and started by examining Aldis's body. They met with the boy's father, and convinced them to allow an "autopsy." They had only one chance to examine the body, as the family were Elmal worshipers who cremated their dead. They found that Aldis had been shot from behind with several arrows, but were unable to gather any more relevant information. They did notice that Aldis's sister seemed nervous and reluctant to speak with them. Erindros attempted to speak with her in private, and she offered to give him more information on her brother's death after the cremation, when she could get away from her father. Next the party decided to inspect the place where Aldis was killed. This was at the edge of pasture land belonging to one of the clan's main bloodlines. There were many confusing tracks, and much spilled blood. There had also been light snowfall the previous night. Thankfully Garkar had decent Tracking skills. He discovered that Aldis's body was likely dragged to the place where it was found, from closer to the southern edge of clan territory. They walked to this place, near the edge of a tract of woods. Here they found more fresh blood, and the tracks were much clearer. The evidence suggested that the boy was attacked by a small group that came out of the woods. They also noticed poorly concealed tracks leading back towards the thrall stockade, where the Enstalos folk were kept prisoner. At this point, various theories were being batted around about the killing, including bandits, some other clan, or a person within the clan who had a motive to kill. Before jumping to any conclusions, Erindros decided to speak with the victim's sister, whom he had met earlier. She told him that Aldis had been seeing an Enstalos girl named Sostra, who was a thrall. She didn't want to reveal this in front of her father, for fear of dishonoring him, and because her family hate the Lunars. With this information in mind, the party finally went to visit the thrall stockade. This was a hastily constructed series of shelters, surrounded by a wooden palisade. Within they found Sostra, and encouraged her to cooperate with them, for the good of her own family. She admitted that she and Aldis had been meeting each other secretly in a hay loft for the last few weeks. The previous night, Aldis had awoken and seen a cowled figure leaving the stockade. He followed in order to determine the person's identity, and then never returned. Sostra lay awake worrying for the rest of the night, and then saw the mysterious figure return to the stockade shortly before dawn. The party promised the girl their protection, and went about privately interviewing the other community leaders of the Enstalos thralls. They proved a tight-lipped bunch, and no new information was gleaned. At this point, the day was drawing to a close, and Erindros and Garkar decided to report what they had learned to the chieftain. Egajia, sensing that something dangerous might occur soon, decided to visit the site of the killing again, and attempt a divination spell to reach Daka Fal. Chieftain Angarr, after listening to the report with a grim countenance, decided there might be a danger that one of the thralls could be communicating with outsiders, and planning something. He raised the fyrd, increased patrols along the boundaries of the tula. Thinking that the thralls might be planning an uprising, Garkar decided to have them all moved to the chieftain's stead, and placed under careful guard. Egajia, meanwhile, had successfully contacted her god, and asked him to show her the face of Aldis's murderer. She received a vision of a man walking through a forest, holding a torch. She had never seen or met this man before, but he wore the battered armor of a Lunar infantry officer. She also saw that he marched at the head of several dozen other well-armed men. Egajia assumed that this was the mysterious group whose prints they had seen at the edge of the woods, and that they might be headed for the tula. Still naked and covered with ash, she ran off barefoot through the snow to tell the others. When she reunited with the party, they saw that farms were burning on the northern end of the clan's land. Knowing that the chieftain was already riding with his weaponthanes to deal with any raid, they decided to head for the thrall stockade. They suspected that the intruders, apparently Lunar soldiers, might try to meet with the mysterious cowled figure they had learned about at the stockade. If this were true, then an ambush could be staged. Erindros organized a group of militia to hide in the thralls' huts, and wait with bows drawn. Garkar and Egajia waited by the palisade gate, planning to close it after the soldiers entered. The Lunars did in fact come, bearing a bundle containing swords, spears and axes. Egajia saw the officer from her vision leading a handful of men into the hut which belonged to Sostra's uncle. She then closed the gate behind them, and cast Glue to shut it. A fierce battle ensued. Egajia was nearly burned alive by a fire elemental, and the others narrowly avoided being struck with Lunar madness. But with the help of the fyrd's bows and javelins, and Egajia's Sleep spells, they took all the Lunar soldiers alive. The chieftain fought and killed the other raiders, who had been sent to burn steads as a distraction. The raiding party was discovered to be made up of Lunar garrison survivors, who had been hiding in the hills since the loss of Fort Enstala. Their commanding officer was a man named Vasilides, from Tarsh. He was executed by Aldis's father. The next morning, it was found that Sostra's uncle, a thrall named Gontar who was once of the Dundealos Tribe, had been sneaking out to meet with Vasilides, and was planning an uprising. Aldis had discovered him meeting the Lunars at night, and Vasilides killed the boy with his bow before he could escape. Gontar then tried to make the murder look like part of a failed cattle raid. He came forward to the chieftain to proclaim his guilt, and implicated his sons and a few other followers in his conspiracy. But he claimed that most of the other thralls did not know of his plans, and asked for the people's mercy in judging them. The chieftain called another moot to discuss the issue. Most of the clan folk were enraged, and ready to take extreme measures to punish the conspirators. Egajia successfully calmed the crowd, and reminded them that most of the thralls were likely innocent. Gontar clearly was not, but killing him and his family would still technically be kinstrife. She proposed exiling Gontar and the others to Prax, with little more than water and some supplies. The chieftain was swayed by her words, and assented. Egajia then spoke to the remaining thralls, saying that it wasn't impossible for them to be accepted as future members of the clan, but they would need to work hard at winning everyone's trust, and leave their past behind them. Taking her implied meaning, they all publicly renounced the Red Goddess and the Lunar Way. The chieftain later chose to adopt the Enstalos thralls into the clan as cottars. The clan's ancestors were satisfied by this, and stayed quiet in their barrow mounds afterwards. Next time, Storm Season 1625, and maybe Sacred Time!
  4. More Character Creation We started our RQG campaign back in March. At this point I don't actually remember how many sessions we've had, something like 8-10. Before character creation, I gave everyone a brief overview of the setting. I explained that their characters' choice of cult was one of the most important, and probably something they should have in mind beforehand. At first, I was kind of reluctant to do the Family History generation. I wanted to fit character creation into one session, and I feared that we wouldn't be able to. Thankfully, my players insisted that we go for it, and I'm now glad they did. Here are some notable highlights for each characters' history. Garkar - Grandmother was a bandit who fought to save Boldhome, then was killed by the Sambari Tribe. Father fought in Starbrow's Rebellion, and was killed by the Lunars. Garkar nearly starved during the Great Winter, and lost other family to troll raids. Fought in the Liberation of Pavis. Erindros - Grandfather was killed at Grizzly Peak. Mother was a Dundealos Vingan warrior who fought in many uprisings against the Lunars, but died of illness. Erindros fought in the Siege of Nochet, and distinguished himself at Pennel Ford. Egajia - Grandmother was (oddly) a Lhankor Mhy sage who married into the High Llama Tribe. Father was a typical Praxian who died in a raid on the Redwood Elves. Egajia refused to pledge loyalty to Argrath, due to the influence of her new Dundealos kin (the Dundealos distrust anyone who would revive Jaldon Goldentooth). Took part in the Liberation of Pavis, but was nearly driven insane by Lunar magic. Garkar and Erindros' players rolled up fairly average characters, who excelled at a few things (fighting and bargaining respectively), but were rather poor at using spirit magic. Egajia ended up having very impressive stats for a future shaman (POW 20, CHA 18), and a spirit combat skill of 125%, partly thanks to her encounter with the Lunar demons. For occupations, Garkar chose warrior, Erindros chose the life of a merchant, and Egajia went with assistant shaman. We had to discuss how these occupations fit in with their character histories. Garkar technically started as a bandit, but after the clan's return to the valley, became a weaponthane for the new chieftain. Erindros had learned the merchant trade with his family in Esrolia, and decided to expand the family business to Sartar. Egajia's role as an assistant shaman was somewhat hard to explain, due to the great demands placed on assistants by their mentors. We decided she would have an agreement worked out with the clan chieftain where she would spend roughly half a season serving him as a thane, and the other half in Prax with her shaman teacher. Early Sessions - The Sacred Rooster The first session of actual gameplay involved a journey east into Prax. It took place in late Earth Season, 1625. The clan was still in the process of trickling back to their ancestral lands, but the PC's had all returned. A new chieftain, Angarr Broad-back, had been chosen by the clan. He in turn had chosen his Inner Ring, including a mix of cults and people representing different groups from the exile. The PC's, being prominent heroes already, were considered to all be thanes on the Clan Ring. Other clans in the Dundealos Tribe had also returned by this time. Most of these had to create new wyters for their clans, although a few had managed to preserve their old wyter. The Bardori wyter was traditionally bound in a red rooster, supposedly of a lineage of males going back to before Time began, originally owned by the clan's founder. The last wyter was defeated and lost during the most recent uprising. Angarr had resigned himself to creating a new wyter from a less exalted lineage of birds, at the risk of weakening the clan's magic. However, he began having recurring dreams of being trapped in a cage, and looking out on the chaparral of Prax. He believed that the old clan wyter still lived in it's original body, and was trying to communicate with him through visions. The chieftain summoned Erindros, Garkar, and Egajia to discuss his dreams. He explained that the Sacred Rooster was likely imprisoned somewhere in Prax, and described a place of weeping statues, with a small sheltered pool nearby. He also mentioned seeing a man with a painted face, wearing a long-horned headdress. He asked the three of them to travel east to the oasis of Day's Rest, and determine if anyone could help them find the place, or the mysterious man. The chieftain provided everyone with riding beasts and supplies. They set off for Day's Rest, which took more than two days to reach. On the way, they encountered a group of Morokanth travelling with their herd-men. Egajia attempted to give them gifts from the clan, and ask if they knew any information to help their mission. She addressed them through song and dance, hoping to flatter and praise them. Unfortunately, she made a poor choice of improvised lyrics and compared them to stupid beasts (the result of a fumble). Instead of talking with them, the Morokanth commanded their herd-men to chase them away and pelt them with feces. Which they did, quite successfully (after all, you can't parry flying projectiles). Eventually the party arrived at Day's Rest, tired and still covered with shit. The oasis was bustling with activity, as the Sable Tribe had recently been driven out, and the oasis claimed by the Bison Tribe. The party planned to stay the night at a Geo's Inn called the Shady Rest, run by a person (gender unclear) named Fosli the Beautiful. They were permitted to bathe behind the stables. Day's Rest included an inn, an Issaries Market, and several sandstone dwellings on one side of the watering hole. On the other side, the Bison Riders made their camps, near a small village of Oasis Folk. The party set about ingratiating themselves to everyone around, seeing if they could gather some information. Egajia met with a group of Bison Riders led by one Mokwar, all apparently Storm Bull cultists. Gaining their trust, she learned that they were hunting a shaman from the Sable Tribe, an enemy of their clan and a Lunar collaborator. After describing to them the man from the chieftain's dream, they confirmed that he was likely the same shaman, named Keshluk. Egajia told them about the place with the weeping statues, and they claimed to know of a place half a day's ride east which fit the description. Unfortunately, the Bison Riders were ready to spring into action immediately and investigate the place, and the party was forced to ride after them in great haste. They rode until sunset, and then approached several tall rock formations, which sheltered an ancient courtyard of ruined statues. The Bison Riders charged in. They quickly found their shaman, but he had been dead for several days, and picked at by vultures. They rode off, leaving the party to poke around on their own. Garkar noticed that Keshluk's throat had been cut, and his various charms and fetishes had been smashed around his body. No one could immediately locate the Sacred Rooster, or any other valuables in the shaman's camp. Egajia used Second Sight to look for any spiritual activity. She found that there were several powerful Death Spirits gathered around the shaman's ghost, which was writhing in pain. They appeared to be inflicting some kind of spiritual torture on him. She attempted to communicate with them, and determined that they had been enslaved to Keshluk, and were now enacting their revenge. They spoke only in the vaguest of terms, and mentioned the shaman being killed by "the boy." No sooner had the spirits mentioned this, than the party was attacked from the shadows by three human-like figures. Up close, they realized that these figures were human, but likely possessed by malevolent spirits of some kind. Their heads, hands and feet were all twisted backwards, and their fingers sprouted long claws. Garkar and Erindros held them off while Egajia engaged them in spirit combat to drive out the possessors. The party defeated them fairly quickly, and the spirits fled after being driven from their hosts, fearing Egajia. The three attackers appeared to be from the Sable Tribe. They needed healing after their bodies had been so grossly malformed. Simple spirit magic fixed the problem. The party bound and interrogated their attackers, and learned that two of them had served as bodyguards to the shaman, and the other, a young boy, was his apprentice. The boy, named Maralak, had murdered his master after he returned from a taxing journey in the Spirit World. Keshluk was apparently a cruel man, and the boy regretted nothing. Except for the fact that all of the shaman's bound spirits were set free, and then took control of Maralak and the bodyguards. The Sable men asked to be ransomed back to their tribe. The party agreed. Maralak told them of a cave nearby where Keshluk kept his valuables. The entrance to the cave was blocked by an earth elemental, which moved when Maralak spoke a certain word. Within the cave, they found the Sacred Rooster, along with other stolen goods and charms. The clan wyter was happy to see it's kinfolk. It had been trapped in a cage made of wicker and iron nails, which sapped it's magic points. The party destroyed the cage (it had been built specifically to hold the wyter), and looted the shaman's former belongings. The heroes traveled back to Day's Rest, and paid an Issaries priest to bring their captives to Pimper's Block for ransom, in return for a percentage. They returned to Bardori lands in triumph, and the chieftain threw them a feast. The wyter had returned just in time for the chieftain to perform a heroquest that would ensure the hens' fertility, and that they would produce a supernatural surplus of eggs to enjoy in the winter. This involved a ritual dance in full regalia for the chieftain and his wife, and then the two of them spending a vigorous night together. Thank you for reading! I've been trying to stick with the seasonal model for my campaign. This first session was the Earth Season adventure, next time, Dark Season 1625. P.S. Comments are welcome, but no chicken jokes please, I've heard them all from my players.
  5. I have decided to start writing recaps of my ongoing RQG campaign, which is centered on the Bardori clan in Sartar, of the Dundealos Tribe. I've been feeling like it would be helpful to get myself writing regularly again, and I would like to have some sort of record of our campaign. Hopefully, folks will also enjoy reading about an ongoing story in the relatively new RQG system. I began my current campaign back in March. My plan is to quickly cover the background and events of the campaign so far, and then hopefully write more detailed coverage once I catch up to the present. Background After immersing myself in Gloranthan material for many months, I found myself struggling to find the right framework for creating a campaign. There was simply so much lore and background information to absorb, I didn't know how to do it justice. Then I discovered The Coming Storm/Eleven Lights, which inspired me to run a campaign focused on a single clan in Sartar. This seemed like the ideal way to tie a group of PC's together, and give them the motivation to go on adventures together. Faced with the choice of which system to use, I found myself more interested in the new RQG rules. I usually prefer more rules-lite systems or story games, but Runequest seemed to be experiencing a revival that was very exciting. I also liked the idea of setting the campaign later in the timeline, after the Lunar occupation. My next big decision was choosing which region in the core book to focus on for my campaign. I felt like Sartar and Prax were the most detailed with prior published material, and Sartar was slightly more interesting to me. With a clan-based campaign, I also had to choose which tribe would be a good fit. The Dundealos immediately jumped out to me as being in a unique position in the setting's start date of 1625. They were one of the few tribes to be completely disbanded by the Empire, but they had returned to resettle their valley after the Dragonrise. This is detailed very briefly in the core book on p. 108, under the section on Swenstown. This would allow me to run a campaign focused on rebuilding, and reforging a lost connection with past traditions (not unlike King of Dragon Pass). The Dundealos also have some interesting neighbors, who could make good allies or antagonists depending on players' actions. These include the nomads and creatures of Prax, the impoverished Balkoth Tribe, and the slave-taking Sambari Tribe. When I was writing notes on the setting, I found the fanzine Hearts in Glorantha very helpful. The first collection contains an article on the Dundealos Tribe by Jeff Richard, of which I used most of the clans for in my campaign. It also has an article on the Balkoth, which I made use of (and it's awesome, there's so much more to them than just goats!). The Sartar Companion was also very helpful in mapping out the Dundealos Valley. The Bardori Clan I wanted to create a clan of my own for the campaign. The Bardori are typical of many Dundealos clans: they herd more sheep than cattle, they produce many fine riders, and they tend to fight in a skirmishing style with bows and javelins from horseback. They are also unusual in several ways: their clan wyter is a rooster, they consider all chickens (especially roosters) sacred, and they see Elmal and Redalda as equally important to Orlanth and Ernalda. They worship several heroes known for their skill in riding, including Hyalor, Ulanin, and Derik Pol-Joni. The Bardori were disbanded in 1618 by the Lunar Empire, after the Dundealos rebelled, and were defeated. The survivors either went into exile, lived as bandits, or were enslaved and forced to work on the New Lunar Temple. The core rulebook for RQG states that the tribe was disbanded in 1615, while the HQ books say 1618. For my campaign I went with the later date, because I wanted there to be a faction of former slaves in the clan, and 10 years felt like too long for anyone to survive in a Lunar slave camp. The core book mentions a "Pol-Joni adventurer" being responsible for recreating the Dundealos tribe. I decided to flesh out this character more, and give him the name Ekil Blackmane (or just Blackmane). He led a band of warriors back to the valley, only a few days after the Dragonrise, and destroyed the remnants of the Lunar Enstalos tribe. He then became the new tribal king. What exactly happened to the Enstalos people, specifically the women and children, was left to the new clan chieftains. Most were enslaved or ransomed if possible. The new Bardori chieftain, Angarr Broad-Back, returned to the Dundealos Valley with his warriors at the same time as Blackmane to reclaim his people's land. The harvest was not yet complete, so he chose to go against clan tradition and keep the Enstalos survivors as thralls to finish the harvest. All of the player characters were either children or teenagers when the clan was forcibly disbanded. When I had my players make characters, I had them think about how they fit into their clan's recent history. This was in addition to the normal family history generation, but they ended up being fairly compatible. They had the following background options to choose from- Exile - Fled with family or sent to live with distant kin. If players chose this option, they had to also choose where they spent their exile. This option allowed players to choose Homelands other than Sartar, to reflect a different style of upbringing. Banditry - Stayed in or near the former Dundealos tribal lands, and lived a precarious existence as bandits. Enslaved - Forced to work in Sartar in Lunar slave camps, or sent to Lunar Tarsh. Players could also choose to be married or adopted into the clan, which opened up even more options. Here is a segment of the Dragon Pass map by Darya Makarava. The river running from Boldhome into Prax (near the Dragonrise), and the surrounding valley, is the campaign's "home base." The river is called the Willow Beck, and the valley is named for the Dundealos Tribe. The Heroes We started with three players, and ended up adding a fourth fairly recently. Garkar - Former bandit, Initiate of Orlanth - Garkar lived as a bandit, and fought against the Empire after the clan was destroyed. The harsh life of banditry formed him into a vengeful, somewhat paranoid man with many grudges (most of his passions start with "Hate"). Garkar has few ambitions other than to see his clan back on their feet, and to punish their old enemies. Erindros - Exile in Esrolia, Initiate of Issaries - Erindros is the scion of one of the two merchant families in the clan. His wealthy aunt in Nochet took him in as a child, and he was raised in the (relative) safety of great city. When the Empire was driven from Sartar, Erindros was encouraged to reclaim his family's land in Dundealos Valley, and he did so (somewhat unwillingly). He discovered his family's farm was in great disrepair, and set about rebuilding it. Erindros is effete and snobbish towards his "barbarian" cousins, but in spite of this he is a great leader in battle. Egajia - Praxian, adopted into the clan by the chieftain, Initiate of Daka Fal - Egajia was born among the High Llama riders, her family were rebels who fought the Lunars alongside Angarr Broad-Back and the Pol-Joni. Her family were all killed, and Angarr adopted her into his own household. She returned to the valley to serve the chieftain as a thane, and lives a strange half-life, spending time with her new kinfolk, and visiting her shaman mentor in Prax. He Who Spits at Chaos (formerly known as Brun) - Exile in Prax, Initiate of Storm Bull - Most of Brun's family were slaughtered by the Lunars after the last Dundealos uprising. He found a sense of belonging with a band of Storm Bull warriors based in Prax. After his initiation, he took his new "name." HWSAC only recently joined the campaign, and is determined to build a shrine to his god on Bardori land, which will also double as an inn and beer hall. His kin appreciate his talent at fighting Chaos, but see his future ambitions as... problematic. Next time... More background material, and covering the campaign events up to the present. Thanks for reading!
  6. I like that there is a system in place for shamans having a more "egalitarian" relationship with spirits. I think having them hang around the shaman makes sense, and is probably what the rules are trying to imply. I worry that what a pact spirit does for the shaman is a bit limited however. What I'll probably do, once my player's character becomes a full shaman that is, is say that they can still ask their pact spirits to cast spells or do other tasks, but they reserve the right to say no, or demand additional sacrifices or favors.
  7. Missed that, thanks. I was wondering what the point of pacts is at all, but when I looked over the spirit contact table on p. 359, there’s a pretty good chance of contacting a spirit with a POW of 20 or higher. Bargaining may end up being more beneficial than binding for powerful spirits.
  8. I'm a little confused about a shaman's spirit pacts, as described on p. 358-359 of the rulebook. My understanding is that these pacts are distinct from any bound spirits that the shaman might have, but they still serve a similar purpose. The rules say a spirit involved in a pact serves as "eyes and ears" in the spirit world, allows the shaman to use their magic points, and will fight for them in spirit combat. They will not hold or cast spells. So if a shaman makes a pact with a spirit, can they use it's magic points at any time? I would assume they can't use all of a spirit's magic points, as that would put it in danger. Also, if a shaman wants to call a spirit to fight for them, does it need to already be present? The rules don't say anything about how to contact the pact spirit after the initial bargain, so I would guess that a shaman would need to discorporate, find it again, and ask it to come along on an adventure first. Any insight into this would be helpful, sorry if it's been brought up on the forums already.
  9. So if this player of mine wanted to bind the spirit (which is a wraith), all they would need to do is cast Spirit Binding? And once the spirit is “bound,” my understanding is that you can use it’s mp, spells if it has any, and release it to follow your commands. But that last option requires something like “Command Cult Spirit.” Do I have all that right? That makes sense now that I think about it, you can’t have two sources of mp in the same rock.
  10. A question came up with one of my players during our last session of RQG. When he rolled for his family heirloom during character creation (p. 83 in the core book), he got the 8-11 option. It says you have a magic POW crystal that can either store a certain number of magic points, or serve as a spirit-binding matrix. He chose the second option, and just recently found a spirit that he considers worth capturing. However, once we checked the rules, it looks like he would need to still sacrifice a certain amount of POW (3 points in this case), and also have access to a binding enchantment spell, which is Rune Lord/Priest/Shaman stuff. Does anyone have any insight on how this family heirloom is supposed to work? I'm thinking that maybe what it actually meant was that the POW crystal stores and mp, and could also be used to bind spirits as well, when that becomes feasible. But even that is confusing, because I thought any object could be used for binding.
  11. I don’t remember Ygg being included in the list for Gods of Glorantha. Is he now being included, or will a cult write up possibly appear somewhere else?
  12. I feel like the differences are implied mostly by their religion. Dagori Inkarth and Halikiv are probably both very similar. But in Guhan the trolls revere Arkat, and I think are actually descended from his trollish followers. In the Shadow Plateau, Argan Argar and the Only Old One are likely much more prominent, along with the usual deities. I also get the sense that Holy Country trolls have better relations with humans around them. Nochet even has a troll neighborhood. The most divergent are probably the Blue Moon Plateau trolls worshiping Anilla, or the Kingdom of Ignorance. They either ally with or rule over humans, and worship gods that are weird even by troll standards. If you consider Snow Trolls to basically be the same as regular Uz, they represent another divergent lifestyle, worshiping Himile and living together in big sacks.
  13. I feel much the same way about these, although I like Teshnos as a setting. I think the idea of Solar worship transplanted to a different place and culture is neat, and I find the Zaranistangi connection interesting. One reason I didn't include the elder races in my original post is because I feel like there are actually several different cultures within each species, as among humans. They just aren't as well-explored. When people say they like "Uz" for example, I feel like they are usually referring to the Dagori Inkarth trolls that venture into Dragon Pass and Prax. But after reading the GtG, and skimming the old Trollpak books, it's clear that there are fundamental differences between the different troll "nations," especially since they tend to exist in isolation from one another. This is also probably true of the Ludoch. The Aldryami seem to diverge culturally across their different sub-species, but otherwise display a lot of continuity across a wide geographical area (part of why I find them kind of boring). The Mostali have their various heresies and sects. All in all, it seems like classifying an elder race as a monolithic culture is kind of selling them short.
  14. I'm seeing a lot of interest in the people of the Holy Country (Caladralanders, Kitori, Esrolians). This is definitely one of my favorite regions simply because it so densely packed with weird cultures that would each play very differently from one another. Hopefully we'll see some RQG material in the next few years that gives it even more depth. On the subject of the Kitori, in our campaign my PC's recently liberated some Ergeshi slaves from the Sambari tribe. These are Kitori who have been isolated from their kin for generations, so now they want to be adopted into the PC's clan rather than return to the Troll Woods. The players haven't made up their minds if this is a good idea yet, but I hope they go for it because then I'll have various excuses to make trouble for them later.
  15. Among the Elder Races, these are the ones I've put the most thought into for running a campaign. You could set up some good sandbox adventures in either the Marthino Sea (war with the Malasp), or the Mournsea (lots of sunken ruins to explore). Also, the Sea Pantheon is huge and has a lot of cool mythology associated with it. Much of it is grim and depressing but I appreciate that about it.
  16. That's probably worth it's own post, but I do have my favorites among the Elder Races. I would say that every "Orlanthi" culture definitely has it's own thing going on. I've spent a fair bit of time investigating the traditions of Oranor and Jonatela for example, and after a while they start to feel very different from Dragon Pass Heortlings. I think the "Major Cultures" section of the Guide is basically describing those Holy Country/Sartar Heortlings as an illustrative example though, and I still find them interesting in spite of the fact that they are somewhat overplayed at this point. Fair point about the Westerners. I think among purist Malkioni, Loskalm is a better region to build a campaign from, at least if your players are Men-of-All. With Seshnela I was actually under the impression that all castes can use sorcery if a person is semi-literate, it's just that the teaching and research of new spells is heavily controlled and restricted by the zzaburi. Right with you there, if I ever did run a campaign in Fonrit, it would probably be centered around Gabaryanga's uprising. Although, again, it kind of bothers me that the official Hero Wars plot for everything related to Fonrit is, "decadence, corruption, Chaos, slavery, everyone dies horribly, etc."
  17. The Guide to Glorantha was my first introduction to the setting. I thought the early section on major cultures was a good way to start the book, and it made a strong impression on me. Right away I had a good sense of which cultures I would be interested in playing, or organizing a campaign around. In fact, pretty much as soon as I had finished that section I had them all ranked in my head from most interesting to least. Once I had finished the Guide, I had a much deeper understanding of each culture, but my rankings didn't change much. My criteria for a culture being "interesting" include: Playability - How easy would it be build an adventuresome campaign around a community in this culture? Diversity - How much does the culture vary in different areas, or is it monolithic? Uniqueness - How cool and weird and different from our historical cultures are these people? Please note that I actually find all the cultures of the setting fun and interesting, way more so than most other fictional worlds. I just think it's fun to make lists. So, here is my ranking for the 8 cultures presented in the Guide, from what I see as most interesting to least - Western - The Westerners are definitely my favorite, and I think they win for being the most unique. I love their strange religion with it's Neo-Platonic roots, and their humanistic worldview which is not shared by any other people in Glorantha. The different sects of the Malkioni faith make for some interesting diversity within the culture, as does the caste system for the Seshnelans. It's hard to say how "playable" Westerners actually would be, since there is very little material provided for playing them as written in the Guide. However, I feel like there is plenty of opportunity for adventure and epic conflict in the West, especially around Loskalm and Ralios. Definitely would not try to run a Brithini campaign though. Hsunchen - Upon first reading the early section on the Hsunchen, I found them interesting, but not overly exciting. As I continued to read the Guide, I realized that the Hsunchen are probably the most diverse Gloranthan culture. Each totem animal has it's own associated tribe with wildly differing lifestyles and traditions. Even though they are all classified as "primitive," some are basically herders, some known for being powerful magicians, and some of them build empires. I also love how weird some of the different tribes are, including mammoth herders, hyper-sexual skunk people, and blood-drinking were-bats. I think the Hsunchen lifestyle is also naturally inclined towards questing and adventure, although maybe not too far from the home range. Orlanthi - Although the Orlanthi are sort of Glorantha's "default" or "vanilla" campaign option, I really do think they have a lot going for them. Tribal cultures are, in my opinion, the most playable. The instability of their political system, and their traditions of heroism, make it really easy to build adventures around this culture. And while they might at first seem to be a cultural monolith in Glorantha, a closer look reveals that this is not at all true. Even within Sartar, the different tribes can have a very different feel to them. It's also hard to deny just how deep and well-developed Orlanthi culture and religion is, since it has basically been the main focus for Runequest and Heroquest material for the last few decades (and continues to be a major focus in RQG). Praxian - I just really like the idea of warlike nomads that ride anything that's not a horse. But beyond that, I feel like the Praxians are very diverse, playable, and plenty weird enough. They also benefit from having tons of stuff written about them over the years. Doraddi - I like the Doraddi for many of the same reasons that I like the Orlanthi, in fact I think they have a lot of similarities. Their social structure is vaguely similar, many of their gods have similar roles to one another, and it's easy to create stories out of their many cultural minutiae (feuds, taboos, rituals, quests, etc.). They also have enough diversity between the major plains regions that they stay interesting. I do think however that southern Pamaltela is not as well-developed in the Guide as it could be. Pelorian - I wasn't terribly impressed with the Pelorians in the early section of the Guide. I think they are, in some ways, the least playable culture (at least the Dara Happans). This is due mainly to their staunch conservatism, arrogance, and patriarchal tendencies. However, once I read the Lunar Empire section and read up on all the other cultures that are technically "Pelorian," I grew much more enamored with them. You have the Rinliddi, Pelandans, Alkothi, Darjiini, the list goes on and on. I also think the Solar pantheon is arguably the largest and most complex of all the theistic religions, and that scores them some points. Fonritian - I love many things about the Fonritians, but the overwhelming focus on the tradition of chattel slavery is a big turnoff for me. There are plenty of fascinating things about their religion, history, and culture as written, but I just don't think I would ever find a group of players who would want to explore a setting where the most brutal form of slavery is so normal and accepted. In other words, I find them basically unplayable. Kralori - I rate them lowest because I feel like they lack much of what makes the other cultures exciting. Pretty much all of the others are a blend of different historical groups plus "a whole lot of weird stuff." To me, the Kralori seem to be basically a fantastical version of Han China. My criticisms mostly center on Kralorela and Vormain, I actually find the Kingdom of Ignorance, Teshnos and the East Isles to be quite fascinating. I'm curious to hear what other people think, or to see how other people would rank their favorites. I also acknowledge that there are many other cultures that don't fit neatly into the "Big Eight," like the Pentans, the Yggites, the Maslo, and many others that deserve honorable mention. I just figured it would be easier to focus on the major ones.
  18. Thanks this gives me a lot to work with. I may try to pick one specific part of the quest that my players can assist with. I've specifically told the players that the clan has no Lhankor Mhy worshipers, so divination is probably going to involve entrails. I also think 1626 would definitely be an "ill-favored" year, given the death of Kallyr Starbrow and the general chaos that follows.
  19. So, my current RQG campaign is entering Sacred Time 1625, and it takes place around a Dundealos clan in Sartar. So far I haven't gone into any detail with describing worship rituals and what they actually entail, and I figured Sacred Time would be the right time for it. What myths are traditionally reenacted at Sacred Time? For Orlanthi is it always the Lightbringers Quest? And if so, can a small, poor clan perform it as a simple ceremony, or does it have to be a heroquest? My players include an Orlanth warrior, an Issaries merchant, and a Praxian shaman of Daka Fal who was adopted into the chieftain's household. I don't plan on turning the worship rituals into a big adventure, but I figure they can all play some part or another, since two are clearly Lightbringer gods, and Daka Fal could be a stand-in for Flesh Man. Anyway, our next session is on Friday, so any advice for storytelling Sacred Time would be helpful.
  20. Okay, so you're saying the "King of the West" from the Takenegi Stele is not necessarily the same person as the one depicted in the Pictoglyphs. That sort of makes things easier to explain without having every major Western nation united into one kingdom over just a few decades. I think I got a little confused after reading the Glorantha wiki page on the King of the West.
  21. I guess that could be an option. My interpretation of the Pictoglyphs 13-17 was that it described King Guilmarn fighting against the Arkats in Ralios. He then dies, but his crown (the Serpent Crown) is taken up by another, who I assume to be the King of the West described in other places. So if the KotW is from Loskalm, that's one kingdom, and Seshnela must be another one since it's the Serpent Crown, and he's "coupling" with the Snake Goddess, who I guess would be Seshna Likita. The third kingdom could be Akem, Safelster, Arolanit or maybe even Brithos.
  22. So the King of the West is likely from Loskalm, maybe even Meriatan or King Gundreken? The Black Dragon Mountain Pictoglyphs describe a king receiving a crown from three kingdoms. So by 1644, the King has taken control of Seshnela (Serpent Crown), Loskalm, and a third kingdom? And still gets defeated by the Red Emperor, ouch.
  23. Hello everyone, this is my first post on the forums. Ever since I initially read the Guide to Glorantha I have been fascinated by the region of Fronela. It features a diverse mix of cultures, and some epic happenings centered around the conflict between Loskalm and the Kingdom of War. However, the Guide is set in 1621 (I believe?), and it only offers vague hints about what will happen in the region over the next few years, and beyond. The clues I can gather from the Guide are as follows - - On p. 202 of the Guide they mention the KoW conquering Junora, and many different groups joining the Warlords as mercenaries. - On p. 318 in the Lunar Empire chapter, there is a section describing events in the empire in detail up to 1630. This includes Carmania declaring independence and "coming to the aid of the Arrolian Properties against Loskalm." It also mentions Charg being set free from the Syndic's Ban in 1628. - On p. 744 in the Takenegi Stele, the text describes the Red Emperor marching against the "King of the West" who had "oppressed the Arrolian Properties." It then claims that he destroyed the Western armies, and took tribute from Sog City and the Bear Kings (Jonatings?). I have also read this document on the Kingdom of War, which is interesting but doesn't tell me much about what will happen there in the future. https://www.glorantha.com/docs/kow/ Putting all of that together, the picture I'm getting is that after 1621, Loskalm and the Kingdom of War clash. Over the next few years, the Loskalmi apparently win the war, or otherwise contain their enemies. They then expand for some reason and take control of the Arrolian Properties. Then the Carmanians intervene in 1630. Somewhere between then and 1644, the following events occur: Carmania is brought back under the Empire's control by a new Red Emperor (Phargentes the Younger I think?), Loskalm becomes part of the dominion of the mysterious "King of the West," and the king and his armies are then likely destroyed by the Lunars. What happens after that is a mystery indeed. I have a lot of questions here. What actually happened with the Kingdom of War? Why would Loskalm try to conquer the Arrolian Properties? Is the King of the West actually from Loskalm, or some other place like Seshnela or Ralios? If he is a foreigner, how did he take control of Loskalm in such a short time? Any additional insights would be helpful. I have a lot of ideas for setting campaigns in Fronela, but I would like to have a better idea of the larger events taking place in the region's history before I run any games there.
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