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BrentS

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  1. This is well articulated and reflects our own experience. Focusing on combat is a mechanistic approach and if that is the style of game desired by the GM and players, then having a pacifist healer as a battle support tool is probably destined for boredom and failure and best avoided. My wife plays a Chalanna Arroy Initiate in our campaign. This is something we discussed at length and it was a welcome challenge to all of us. Combat is a central feature of RQG, a legacy of its RQII roots, and this can't be ignored.....but Glorantha offers so much more. For me the goal of my campaign and our story is to deeply explore two of the foundational elements of the Gloranthan experience.....the nature of community and the interaction of myth with the mundane world. This means that I have been able to tailor the campaign to her, offering roleplaying and narrative opportunity that she wants and that is not combat based, or that delivers options for combat avoidance. "There is always another way" is a central tenet of this approach and is actually one my explicit mythic themes, voiced frequently by one of the major NPCs of the campaign, an Ernalda priestess. Combat is still featured, the risk is ever present, it is still crunchy and dangerous, but it makes it more meaningful and exciting when it comes as dramatic high points in the narrative, when its impact is not diluted by making it the tedious Playstation dungeon crawl reason for playing. We have done this by making our Chalanna Arroy character integral to the story, not making a story into which she is slotted. She is older than the other less experienced characters and they have been drawn into her orbit and her agenda for various reasons. This does not mean that the entire story revolves around her, but it gives us a coherent framework and justification for where they are at and why. Unforeseen advantages of this approach are that the greater experience of the Chalanna Arroy initiate does not unbalance the player group because her skills are not combat based; that she provides a survivability buffer for the other less experienced characters when combat does occur; and that her own improved survivability allows for a stable and credible centre of continuity for the grand narrative of the campaign. So my advice is to embrace the roleplaying opportunities and to purposefully structure the story around the Chalanna Arroy character. If that's not the style of gaming the players want, then that's fine, but then I think this style of character is not suited to that type of gaming experience......and if a player still wants a Chalanna Arroy character, I think it would be appropriate to have an open discussion with the players about what their goals for the game actually are. Brent.
  2. Hey yes. Good spot. Brent.
  3. I thought chocolate was Central American in origin, last of the world's six cradles of civilisation. Which would be the Olmec, from about 1500 BC. Giant heads, chilli and chocolate.....and I think chocolate definitely qualifies a people as civilised, no matter what your criteria are ๐Ÿ˜€ Brent.
  4. I've drunk wild luwak coffee and still have a sachet of the beans I brought back from our last trip to Bali. I have to say I was a little disappointed....it tasted like coffee flavoured coffee. I didn't have a transcendent experience, didn't meet my animal totem, luwak or otherwise. My wife won't touch it. ๐Ÿคช Brent.
  5. I'm not sure where else to post this and it's not directly podcast related but I'm loving the Wind Whispers newsletter. What a great way to keep those of us short on time up to speed about what's happening with the real world goings on for our favourite fantasy world. My favourite bits are the snippets of archaeological / historical / curiosity stories that have Gloranthan parallels at the end of each newsletter. A real pleasure to discover Wind Whispers #`10 in my inbox this morning and browse it with my morning brew. Thanks so much. Brent. P.S. I was curious if hot beverages were drunk in Glorantha. Coffee is far too recent a discovery in our world to have Bronze Age associations but I could see it having ritual application in Glorantha as a stimulant that brings the shaman closer to the spirit world or prepares the heroquester (now Questworlder? ๐Ÿ˜’) for entry into the Hero Plane. I was intrigued listening to a lecture series on the Ottoman Empire recently to hear a snippet of information about the discovery of coffee....certainly apocryphal but the story has all the humble yet mythic qualities that one would associate with Gloranthan myth..... https://allthatsinteresting.com/kaldi-coffee I can imagine Biturian packing some of these rare, exotic beans in his red leather satchel next to the sugar, although best not to mention the goats when dealing with Orlanthi.
  6. I was fortunate to score an affordable copy of the Chaosium Dragon Pass in good condition earlier this year. We're setting up to play it soon. Fascinating to see how much of the Hero Wars material was already fully realised at that early stage. Top of my totally unrealistic fantasy wish list is Nomad Gods, or even better, an English issue of Les Dieux Nomades. It's been fantastic to have the pdf of the rulebook available but it would be great to have it in playable format (although it technically would be possible on Vassal). Brent.
  7. I would love to have these in fresh, clean editions as my originals of many have reached the point of disintegration, not to mention the horror of my teenage friends (and maybe myself ) having written notes in the margins ๐Ÿ˜ฎ......and Trollpak is long lost ๐Ÿ™. However, the cost of getting any print material shipped from the US is prohibitive and I have only bought hard copy material that is available through local distributors. It is wonderful having pdf copies available directly from Chaosium but there's no substitute for the real thing. Rick, I'm not sure how it works, but is it feasible to have POD products delivered through local fulfilment companies, like Aetherworks who I believe are responsible for Chaosium distribution here in Australia? I realise that I probably have a weak understanding of the shipping and fulfilment arrangements but was wondering how international customers might be able to access these reprints affordably. Thanks, Brent.
  8. Thanks. Unfortunately I work shifts week on, week off, so also work every second Thursday evening ๐Ÿ™ . All my gaming is fortnightly. I guess it would only work if my involvement was half time, which would depend on your game and story requirements. That's a big ask so if that doesn't fit, no problem at all. Maybe I could be a silent Discord observer or even an occasional NPC if that works. Brent.
  9. Hi. I'm a bit late to this thread and may not fit with your regular play schedule, as I work every second Monday evening. I am, however, in Sydney, am very familiar with Runequest and Glorantha and know my way around the Roll20 RQG character sheet. If there's a spot and my schedule would fit with your I'd love to play. Brent.
  10. Following on from this, I had always wondered who wrote the excerpts from the travels of Biturian Varosh. I assumed it must be Greg Stafford as they exhibit a deep understanding of the mythos and tone of Glorantha, an understanding that probably only he possessed at this early stage in the development of the world. What did impress me at the time, and still today, is the quality of the writing. I'm not going to suggest it's Shakepeare, but it does have literary value. I admit to being something of a literary snob and was even more so when I was younger. While some fantasy writers had literary chops in my totally biased opinion (Peake, Bradbury, Tolkein, Le Guin) I set a pretty low bar for other genre writing and particularly roleplaying game writing......which is not to say I didn't enjoy it but I had different expectations. Assuming it was Greg penning Biturian's travels, I actually rated the quality of the writing above most fantasy and certainly gaming work, which is part of what drew me to it. Greg wrote a huge amount of background and historical material, which we are fortunate to have access to, but I know his first efforts at engaging with Glorantha had been through fiction. Given this snippet of writing quality, I think it's a shame we don't have access to more of Greg's fiction work. I wonder what has become of those early manuscripts rejected by publishers. Brent.
  11. Another enjoyable episode, thank gents. More Biturian Varosh did make me very happy ๐Ÿ™‚. The episode at the Paps is one that always fascinated me and raised many questions. Why did the sacred Earth ritual impose risk of a Darkness assault? Why Darkness rather than Chaos? Why would morokanth be involved, betraying their oath to the Covenant and their devotion to Eiritha? Where did the trolls come from, given the implication that there were tunnels leading deeper from the Paps, suggesting a much more complex situation than a well circumscribed centre of Earth worship? I really like your suggestion that the ritual was in some way an aspect of heroquesting, meaning that the role of the morokanth was a ritual one, helping to reenact some part of Eirithaโ€™s sacred mythology, just as as you pointed out that ancient peoples would often have members of their society take the part of protagonists in sacred ritual. In this case they would have been symbolic enemies, not real ones, even if the conflict was bloody and dangerous and anything but symbolic. Viewed in this way the morokanth would have been paying the greatest homage and devotion to Eiritha, including the sacrifice of their own lives. Nice. However, I think there is more to the story, as this episode does not seem to have been a predictable part of the ceremony and took the worshiping Praxians by surprise. In the end I am content to consider that there are deeper levels of mythic subtlety than mortals can understand or rationalise, and this is one example. I am sure Greg Stafford drew from First Nationsโ€™ beliefs and ritual, as you suggested, but this excerpt from Biturianโ€™s journal always reminded me of the Eleusinian mysteries, in its focus on chthonic deities and deep cultic mysteries revealed to initiates but hidden from outsiders. Looking forward to more. Keep up the good work. Brent.
  12. BrentS

    Shields

    I think the difference between soft skills like Sing, Orate and Intimidate is that while they may be culturally important, they are not the focus of the game. This is an heroic fantasy game simulating an experience equivalent to our own ancient societies. Ancient societies placed a premium on warfare and, true to its wargame roots, RQG focuses on combat, a whole chapter on it. We celebrate Glorantha in all its detail, including its rich cultural setting, but for the majority of gaming this supports play focused on violence, or the possibility of it. You only have to look at the official published scenarios to see this. We can certainly all point to games where intrigue, negotiation and social interaction are the central themes, and these sessions are fantastic, but those exceptions to the rule don't escape the fact that RQG is, at its heart, a game about adventure and armed conflict. We might theoretically propose that a game centred on singing would be great, with a full chapter focused on yodelling and intricate, complex rules devoted to it, while combat is reduced to a single Manipulation skill description.....but if we're honest, we know none of us want to play that game ๐Ÿ™‚ This means that there is an onus on design to get its core system of combat right. So integrating shield skills in a satisfying, meaningful and workable way is more important than fine tuning the Sing skill. Interestingly, my next game will have a Chalanna Arroy player, and Sing may well be an important part of her therapeutic toolbox, possibly combined with Comfort Song. This is an exciting challenge and will help foster the setting and narrative focus we want, but part of the game's tension will be how a peaceful person navigates a violent world. I won't be subjecting the other players to a game about singing ๐Ÿ™‚ While I've really enjoyed and learned from all the excellent discussion, I can't include all the suggestions, particularly those that advocate increased complexity or reverting to other rule systems with which I'm unfamiliar. It's actually all helped to convince me that my original simple idea, slightly modified, is my best bet, and that's what I'll trial first. If it doesn't break the game and make us all decide to give up and find an RPG about singing, I'll let you know. ๐Ÿ™‚ Brent.
  13. BrentS

    Herbalism

    This is true of all pharmacology, with variable therapeutic ranges for each drug , and lack of efficacy or toxicity beyond each extreme of that range. The same would be true for herbal remedies, although in the real world that therapeutic range is much broader than it is for manufactured drugs. With a few exceptions, herbals have such low levels of active compound that you would have to suffocate the patient beneath a truckload of leaves before they would come to harm. My preference in Glorantha would be to have real but low level therapeutic effects for herbal remedies, subtle augments of healer skills or host resistance or recovery rates, as suggested above. At toxic levels all pharmacologicals become poisons. Harm could come from abuse or accidental overdose (a fumble on the Treat Disease or Plant Lore roll?). Sedatives and stimulants, which I would consider to include sensory enhancers such as those increasing auditory acuity, would also be likely to be addictive. Glorantha already has hazia but there must be others. My Chalanna Arroy Initiate would understand this in principle. As her cult directive is to cause no harm to other living beings, she would get a warning if it looked like she were being treated as a meth cook. I will also limit the availability of those stronger herbals. Brent.
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