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Found 12 results

  1. Background: OK, so I'm in 1627 Fire Season and running the 2nd year of Grove of Green Rock with three adventurers mounted on Hippogriffs courtesy of the Pegasus Plateau. To change things up a bit, I swapped the listed 2nd year opponents for a pack of Broo... many of whom have wings (of various sorts), and can fly, along with some on the ground to keep the two adventurers who can't get up into the air busy. Warding: Here's where things get interesting, because they knew the battle would be at night (they were here last year after all), they laid out Warding's as shown in the attached screenshot. The yellow boxes are essentially tripwires - about 50m by 2m designed not so much to keep the attackers out, but to set off an alarm when the attackers arrive (the 1D3 damage is a bonus, but largely irrelevant in the eyes of the adventurers - knowing which direction the attackers would come from was the point). The blue boxes are almost "fighting boxes", semi-prepared positions where the defenders can hold and intercept with a little bit of countermagic & another 1D3 damage. Find Enemy: The other thing they did (in addition to personal protections like Shield, etc), was that at the first sign of trouble (like, oh, the glittery reflecting broo with draconic wings coming into view and lighting up the sky), every other adventurer cast Find Enemy on the airborne Terris. As written this creates a repeater effect where every adventurer can locate the enemies that Terris can see from the various castings. This was really clever, and I allowed it, but I am left wondering if either application of these common rune spells is possibly outside the spirit of what was intended for them. Thoughts, comments, queries?
  2. My players agreed to found the cult of Orgorvale Summer (ala GA), with one of them serving as her priest. I'd be interested in hearing about any experiences that others have had with founding the cult. The book lists that the cult can be a subcult of Orlanth or Ernalda, part of the Colymar tribal cult (not sure how that would work), or an independent spirit cult. What direction did your players go? How did they grow the cult? What powers did you give the priest? What have you done with the cult, tomb, and goddess? I'm leaning toward not considering this a spirit cult, or at least something between a spirit cult and a regular cult given her importance in history and the fact that at one time she had a very large laity. It may become an Orlanth or Ernalda sub-cult, but I'm playing with the idea of Leika trying to use it to extend her influence within Sartar. The priest is an Orlanthi hunter, the other two founding members are an Orlanthi warrior and a Daka Fal Asst. Shaman, all based out of Apple Lane.
  3. *Spoilers for Smoking Ruin* Vamargic has a POW of 0. How does he cast Protection 6? Also the dragonewt eye on his necklace has no POW listed - at what percentage does it cast Disruption, and what should be used to overcome target's POW? I'm running the second session of this scenario tomorrow night, so suggestions welcome.
  4. Please don't read on if you don't intend to run Children of Fear and Horror on the Orient Express. Seriously major spoilers follow. I've not finished reading it yet, but one question has been bugging me since the plot synopsis in the Introduction, that I've not found an answer to yet. Why? Why does the cult get the players involved? Why not do it themselves? Why get the lama involved and then wait a 1000 odd years? For the author or the people that have actually got to the end, are these questions answered later on? I remember my disappointment as a player in Horror on the Orient Express, when we discovered that the world would have been safer if we had just stayed at home and not found all the pieces for the bad guys, Children of Fear seems like it will produce the same reaction from the players.
  5. The adventure book says that Redeye is a monstrous semi-divine boar sent by Ernalda. (page 47.) The adventure book also says "The Tusk Riders in Defending Apple Lane (page 79) worship Redeye as an incarnation of the God-Pig Gouger." (page 47.) The adventure further says "Once at Pig hollow, they offer blood and promises to Redeye the Boar if it will protect them." (page 78.) Is Redeye a cult spirit of Ernalda and/or the God-Pig Gouger, subject to Command Cult Spirit of either or both cults?
  6. I just finished running my adventurers through "Gloomwillow's Hollow" and some of its supplementary material about the Woods of the Dead, from The Pegasus Plateau. I hope this writeup of how I played the adventure may be useful to other gamemasters. I also hope that some of the ridiculous things my players get up to may be amusing. Keep in mind that this thread will be spoiler-filled for that adventure, and potentially for other content from TPP. It may also contain some spoilers from the meta-plot of the Hero Wars and other Gloranthan miscellany. Be warned! The adventurers are: Tatanka Bloodstain, a Praxian nomad who is famous for his spectacular heroism fighting alongside the Death Lord Grungnak to avenge the Fattened Trollkin Feud against the Leadgut clan, where he earned his epithet. (Read: crit his Battle roll.) Originally a herder from the Witco clan of the Bison tribe, he's almost accidentally a war hero. He's accompanied by Trundle, a bison with a Waha spirit bound within, who talks. Trundle's catchphrase? "Hello!" Hercules the Fifth, a merchant from Sartar who traveled to New Pavis with his uncle Gil Luckstone—a friend of Argrath's who became Chief Priest of Issaries some seasons after the White Bull conquered the city. Hercules descends from a family line which names the firstborn male Hercules, and he almost always dies in pursuit of sex (Herc's dad died to a succubus, if I remember his backstory correctly). Played by @GeminniRed, who co-GMs the campaign with me. Alexander Bernard is a Humakti warrior, at one point indebted to Hercules for saving his life, although they've squared that debt since he still travels with Herc & Co. He's way older than any Humakti has any right to be (over 40!), and relieves stress through "training" new initiates to Humakt. Drops Dice is a very, very special trollkin. Dumb as a rock (or perhaps more dumb), but so magically talented that he's managed to, through adventuring, even change castes from Food to Value. Also helps that no one he hangs out with is trying to eat him (which is obviously the definition of what caste you are, right?). His name comes from the player trying to name himself "Tak" by just dropping the dice on the table, but "Drops Dice" stuck instead. He's unabashedly my favorite adventurer. Kali Stormwalker is my adventurer, a Sartarite shaman-in-training who worships Odayla, with a lil Orlanth on the side. He despises ducks, and is accompanied by an umbroli godling named Appa. Thrizzian is a newer member of the group. A newtling worshiper of the Trickster, he joined the crew when he drugged out on hazia, got snared by a giant spirit-spider-monster, and dragged away to the dungeon the adventurers were exploring (The Spire of Iron & Crystal for Pathfinder from Frog God Games, which I adapted as a God Learner ruin—excellent fun!). He's stuck around since because they're good fun and did save his life, after all. Reginald is also a new member, who they picked up on a recent trip to Esrolia looking for information about the heroquest they're going to attempt this coming Sacred Time. He's a merchant, albeit yet another Eurmal initiate—he acts under the guise of Issaries, and has a sacred pact with the Earth as well. (Why. Why do my players keep wanting to play tricksters.) The group was mostly brought together by their loyalty to Argrath White Bull, although they've grown personally close over the course of travels and adventures. They're used often as his running boys—go do this, go do that, take this letter all the way to flippin' Nochet, and so on. For a long while, Hercules was the unofficial leader of the group, but of late he's had a falling-out with Argrath over the use of draconic powers, and just recently Tatanka was officially declared an emissary of Argrath, and gifted a white bison-pelt cloak to mark this. The adventurers are definitely skilled, but none of them are a Rune Master or shaman yet. Most of them have a good bit of Rune magic, and their full CHA of spirit magic. There's a number of magic items, and everyone except Thrizzie and Reggie have, I believe, optimized armor for the ENC they can carry. So in general, I'd rate them a pretty dangerous bunch. In particular, Hercules & Alexander are a hair's breadth away from becoming Rune Masters of their cults, and Kali's going to appeal to his teacher to take the shaman trials on the route home during this journey (provided the party doesn't mind taking a slight detour). I offered the call to adventure in the context of one of these long journeys. The adventurers were sent, by Argrath, to cross Prax and visit Queen Leika of the Colymar, to ask her to join him on Argrath's march against Alda-Chur in the following spring. They left Pavis at the end of autumn in 1626. I moved most of the non-Woods of the Dead action of the adventure to the town of Herongreen, since it sits right on the Pavis Road. While in a tavern there—acting as travelers, not emissaries, due to the Lunar presence—they were approached by Harasandra and asked to look in the Woods of the Dead for some missing children, since they appeared largely armed and competent. They agreed, and formulated a plan of action. The adventurers traveled to Day's Hope, both for Humakt's holy day at the temple there, and to get more information from the locals about the Woods. They traveled around the woods, and I ran the brief first encounter with the mossbacks ("The Second Probe"). While they did stay at the Highwall Inn midway to Alone, they didn't get into trouble there because, well... heavily armed & dangerous. On each of their visits to the inn I had them roll some Perception skills to see if they heard or saw anything especially suspicious, but they never succeeded. I decided Jafoska & Baran would probably prefer to avoid risking it with these adventurers, seeking easier prey instead. Their visits to Alone and Day's Hope were largely uneventful. They stayed at Geo's Alone Inn, and I explained the concept of Geo's to them, since the players hadn't encountered one before (though I'm sure their adventurers had). At Day's Hope they gathered a bit more information about the missing children, the Woods, and the mossbacks, and prepared themselves at the Humakt temple, leaving spare baggage, supplies, and mounts behind. Trundle came along because he's a person, not a skittish dumb animal, but the rest stayed. Throughout, the players regularly expected the final enemies to be undead, despite the mention of mossbacks taking kids, stories of Gloomwillow, and the fact that they were going to Gloomwillow's Hollow. I told the players that routes within the Woods are weird, and change, and that a map can't really be drawn. I found the map in the book to be nearly useless for actually running this adventure, especially since it doesn't have a scale, and it doesn't even show where the Highwall Inn is on the Dusk Road. I annotated that myself, and gave a section of the map to the adventurers more for the sake of visualization than for information. The players learned from the Humakti of Day's Hope that if they could find a deep, narrow creek (Thin's Creek) and follow it downstream, they'd find a swampy area, and that Gloomwillow's Hollow could usually be found nearby. They also got a repeated, explicit warning not to go anywhere near Black Rock, because otherwise my players would go treasure-hunting like the little gremlins they are. Sometimes you need "Certain Death Lies Here" written in red paint. Next, I ran the "Ambush!" encounter, pretty much as written, somewhere in the Woods. The adventurers handled this easily for the most part. Tatanka took an impale to the abdomen, and a second hit, but overall lived, and the general combat wasn't dangerous except for the python hypnotism. I ruled that the pythons and dragonflies buggered off once hit, since they're basically just animals, but the mossbacks tried to fight to the death. One lived, and was captured by the adventurers. They could barely communicate with it, but figured out that it was named Croak (or something similar), and could get it to lead them to its home. It agreed to do so because it assumed Gloomwillow would capture and kill the adventurers. The adventurers also learned exactly how dangerous Trundle is in melee; they haven't been able to take him with in a lot of combat situations, since the combat-heavy moments have typically been dungeons involving stairs and tight places and, y'know. Bison. One of the challenges I had with running the mossbacks was determining how many javelins they carried. I decided three felt reasonable, one in each hand, and one tied to them. From the image they're clearly primitive creatures, but they aren't fit for melee combat in the slightest, and I tried to run them mostly as skirmishers, moving to melee as a last option. They also lost lots of limbs to the adventurers. Croak led the adventurers to Thin's Creek, and they followed it downstream to the Miasma Marsh, where they found a crucified corpse. The next session I played them traveling through the marsh haunted by the evil ducks (accompanied by very badly punning rhymes), but this didn't end up being as weirdly-creepy as I had hoped it would. I think that playing this over Discord, instead of in person, impacted the experience somewhat. Eventually they got surrounded by the ducks while on a low rise surrounded by water--both shallow & deep--but the ducks were driven away when Drops Dice summoned a veredthi and began drowning them. Veredthi are freaking huge for their Rune point cost. The rest of the ducks fled because Cowardly, and the adventurers made it the rest of the way through the Marsh. I think the cannibal ducks could have been really dangerous--attacking from underwater and dragging the adventurers down, etc.--but they just didn't have the chance to be properly scary. They fired darts several times, but none of them were strong enough to pierce armor. One of the ducks did catch and kill Croak, but this didn't shake the adventurers much, even when his head was tossed at them. I tried using this to highlight potential dangers of the Marsh, but the ducks just never got close enough to really be impactful. The adventurers eventually climbed out of the Marsh, and saw the dead tree towering over the forest. I had the adventurers encounter "Visions Most Foul" but didn't emphasize the struggle to push through, since there wasn't a significant consequence of failure. They approached, and found the hidden entrance into the bottom of the tree. Which they called a "Skyrim entrance", i.e. the back door convenient exit omnipresent in that game's dungeons, and were generally amused/frustrated that it existed. They considered entry from the top, but chose not to because they couldn't blitzkrieg with the whole party. They wanted to fly, and didn't consider climbing up an option. They did notice there might be guards at the broken branch-bridge main entry, which was why they searched the area first. They descended the tunnels, and got into an extended fight with some mossbacks. Alexander pretty much waded through gore, though Hercules took a few hits to his leg when he tried chasing down a mossback which fled to the next room. I found the map and related text a bit difficult to play. The map's biggest difficulty is that I found it hard to determine what rooms connected to where, since it's a 3D map drawn in cutaway style, and isn't very large. I isolated the image with Acrobat and copied it, then blew it up as its own image file, and that helped me see where everything was. Another difficulty I had was that the map is numbered, but the descriptions aren't. I would have found it easier to bounce back and forth if their numbers corresponded. Finally, I found it frustrating that a number of the total mossbacks present, or at Gloomwillow's command through the Woods, wasn't noted. I ended up guesstimating a dozen to twenty in the tree at any given time from the text. The party couldn't avoid letting some mossbacks flee. Hercules summoned a Spell Traded umbroli as a missiles-shield (which also killed a pair of charging mossbacks), but couldn't control it, so the party was stuck behind an indoor tornado for 15 minutes. They climbed most of the tree without incident; all of the mossbacks, except those guarding the kids, went up to guard Gloomwillow. I ended up not using her ability to cast through the mossbacks because it felt immensely unfair given her spells available (which I'll get to later). They avoided side passages, and continued to travel straight upstairs. While plundering Gloomwillow's rooms--particularly the library, which I wish would have a better description of what's in there, and what those works might be worth--they heard a scream up in the top of the tree, and ran up to see Gloomwillow kill the kid. Ten mossbacks stood between them. Alexander cast Flight (Spell Traded from Herc, who had it as an associate spell from Orlanth) and flew over the mossbacks to engage Gloomwillow. Gloomwillow's opening move was to cast Absorption 6, and basically make herself immune to magic. I narrated this with her covering herself in an inky black shadow, which radiated power. I also used narration to emphasize how dangerous Gloomwillow is, in addition to explicitly warning the players out-of-character that the boss of this adventure is nasty. And she is fucking dangerous. At POW 32, with 32 Rune points, and access to Sever Spirit, she can auto-kill pretty much any adventurer, whenever she wants. Even a Rune Lord only has an 05% chance to resist POW v POW. One of my frustrations with Gloomwillow's writeup was also that she doesn't have defensive abilities noted--namely Dodge, so I gave her DEX×3, 60%, but easily could have been higher--and that it doesn't say whether she can discorporate like a normal dryad. I ruled she couldn't, since she has no spirit magic, and her connection to nature is basically gone; but this does make the scripted part of the battle where she "flies" into the branches of the tree feel strange. We never got to that part of the fight because Alexander was up in her grill the entire time. She threw a Sever Spirit at Alexander. He rolled a Devotion (Humakt) Passion to augment his resistance roll, and crit. He still failed his resistance roll, and chose to use a hero point to avoid death. (This is a house rule we've used for years, which ideally gets weaned off as the adventurers grow stronger. For doing big, dangerous things, you can earn hero points, which are basically a "get out of jail free" card to avoid a blow. They're useful for encouraging the players to take on impossible situations, and give them a chance to win beyond lucking a divine intervention.) When he tried proving he was the true wielder of death (as Humakt), though, her Absorption ate Alexander's Sever Spirit. They assumed it was Countermagic, and another adventurer (I believe Drops Dice, but don't remember who) threw a spell to try taking down the effect while Alexander kept swinging his sword at her. He resisted three more Sever Spirits with his Devotion augment (bringing the roll up to 55%). Meanwhile, the rest of the adventurers were engaged with the mossbacks. Tatanka, Hercules, and Kali were engaged three-to-one and broadly successful at this. Each was taking chip damage, especially Tatanka, who's pretty conservative with his Rune magic. Kali's armor plus an Extended Shield 2 left him nigh-invulnerable without a special or crit against the mossbacks, while Hercules wielded a Spell Traded Sword Trance to lethal effect. Thrizzian entered melee as well, and acquitted himself admirably for a new adventurer, with repeated successful dodges, and I believe two kills. Drops Dice repeatedly fired bolgs into the melee with Gloomwillow, and it was actually the trollkin that got the kill on the evil dryad. She withered to dust at Alexander's feet after he lopped off one of her arms. He dealt the most consistent damage against her, because she didn't have a defense against ranged physical damage. She tried Create Shadow to escape, but Drops Dice, well, has Darksense. After her death, the fall of the tree wasn't as climatic as I had anticipated. It was mostly mitigated by the fact that Herc dropped the Sword Trance and flew, Alexander was already flying, and Kali called on Appa to fly himself and Thrizzian (who failed his Rune magic roll to Become Crane) off. Tatanka immediately bolted for the stairs, and took the written damage being tossed around inside as the tree came down, but ultimately wasn't significantly harmed. Reggie's player wasn't there (if I'm remembering right--throughout this adventure lasted ~4 three-hour sessions, I believe, and we only had everyone present for I think one of them, so my memory's a wee bit spotty) but he also had an out in the form of Hallucinate to fly away on a magic carpet—one of that player's favorite tricks since our RQ3+ game a few years before RQG came out. Once the tree was down, I ruled that the remaining mossbacks had either fled or died. Overall the adventurers did kill over half of them in that melee. They were easy opponents for my adventurers. I chose not to have Gloomwillow cast through them because she could just nail a player from a kilometer away, they would have basically no chance of resisting, and no way to actually catch her. The mossbacks as written can hide in trees, run around, and avoid the adventurers, while Gloomwillow uses them to cast and kill everyone. This didn't seem fun to me, so I didn't do it. I did, however, plan to have her cast Berserk on Croak when they got close, and I did consider having her use some of her less dangerous spells to mess with the adventurers. The adventurers searched the tree and found the rest of the children. I explicitly told the players that they survived because of how they were imprisoned in the tight cages, whereas the mossbacks in that room were tossed around and killed. This isn't stated in the text, but seems to me the only reason why the children aren't killed by the tree's fall. It was dusk, and the adventurers stayed the night at the ruin of Gloomwillow's hollow, outside. Their rations and water had gone bad by then, and they and the kids were both hungry and thirsty. They had enough magic points to fix up the children's minor injuries from the treefall & confinement. After most of the crew went to sleep, Drops Dice and Reggie went into the tree. Drops Dice discorporated, and began searching for a Darkness spirit to put in his empty POW Storing crystal, which has been a player goal for some time. He's recently joined the Sunset Society, a shaman cult dedicated to Darkness spirits, in addition to his worship of Zola Fel (where he's also walking a shaman path; we're still figuring out how the two will intersect and interact). He failed his Spirit Travel roll to find a spirit, and was drawn down, down to the roots of the fallen dead tree, which still extended into the earth. There he found a large black pool of energy, quiescent. I told him its POW was massively larger than his, and that he felt a strong malevolent presence connected with the Darkness, Plant, and Death Runes. So he remembers to cast Spirit Block before poking it. I decided while playing this encounter that, if something went wrong, Drops Dice would find Gloomwillow's spirit which isn't dead, but just dormant, returned to the Spirit World. And very upset that he woke her (I'm still not sure if she knows he landed the final blow, or if she just blames Alexander). She grabs him, and they do a round of spirit combat. She clobbers him even through the Spirit Block, and he pleads for mercy. She demands an offering, and he offers up the soul of Beleros (the Lunar spirit in "The Rattling Wind", which the adventurers kept bound), and then also promises to bring her more food. She eats Beleros, and demands a sign of their pact. I tell the player to offer up to four points of POW (which would be the POW necessary to make a pact with a POW 32 spirit--although he's not a shaman, so it'd be more an "appropriate full offering" than a "you now have a pacted spirit"). He offers three, so she lets him go, and I decided he gained a Rune point in the Sunset Society for his offering, and his pluck. Now he has two bindings to fill with ghosts... Later during the night, the Hunt of Wailing Ghosts encountered the adventurers and children. They ignored the children a) because I wasn't sure if I wanted to deal with the children supernaturally aging, and b) because the hunt is made up mostly of Brangbane's slain wives, and I figured it'd be a plausible touch if they overlooked uninitiated youths. The party tried multiple rolls to ward them off, and a majority failed, so ultimately I decided they attacked. I had the adventurers make the described characteristic rolls to resist the aging effect, and then each adventurer was engaged with one of the ghosts in spirit combat. Once one ghost was defeated for each adventurer, they were driven off. I think every adventurer except Reggie aged either one or two three-year increments on that first attack; he was particularly lucky, not particularly high-statted. However, he was defeated in spirit combat. I ruled that the wailing ghost possessed him, and he had to do another round of characteristic tests. I also ruled that he would have to do them once per week so long as he was possessed, as the effect of covert possession (although Kali discorporated and handled it without much trouble--he has a Spirit Armor enchantment which often lets him manhandle ghosts). I rolled randomly for the spells stolen by the adventurers who defeated spirits in spirit combat. Notably, Tatanka and Kali both rolled Sleep, and learned this rare spell (which I'm sure will be relevant in later adventures...). The adventurers used mixed strategies of spirit combat and other tactics to defeat the spirits. Although Alexander got Befuddled, Herc grabbed his enchanted iron sword to fight off the ghosts successfully. (It's a relic he found in a ruin in the Big Rubble, and it makes many ghost combats pretty trivial.) In the morning, the adventurers were pretty beleaguered. They tried going south-west to cut as close to Herongreen as possible, but ended up going northwest (failed Survival roll to determine direction in the Woods). Mysteriously, the Miasma Marsh had disappeared, even though it was nearby and easy to see from the rise of the Hollow yesterday. As the adventurers wandered, they stumbled across "The Corridor", and continued walking down it. There they encountered the Silver Rider, which I ruled was a spirit which can take the form of a Unicorn. It ignored the adventurers, but healed the children of their hunger and thirst, then led the way out of the Woods. This was both because I figured we should be done with the adventure, and continue on the adventurers' journey, and because a final encounter with a benevolent spirit felt right after all the horrors of the Woods. Despite the minimal danger of some of the encounters (like the Wailing Ghosts and the mossbacks), the raw quantity of stuff I ran them through made this a harrowing adventure, I think. I rewarded the adventurers with ~35L of gifts apiece from the townsfolk, which is close to the written amount (and WAY too little for dealing with Gloomwillow!), even though they didn't ask for reward before going into the Woods. In addition, Alexander has become known as Gloomkiller (to Drops Dice's protestations), and all the adventurers have earned a good bit of Reputation from their success. Despite an ongoing famine (due to Kallyr's failed Lightbringer's Quest), the Lunars running the town were willing to gift the adventurers supplies to replace those destroyed in the Wood. The adventurers still weren't forthcoming about their journey's purpose--instead, they claimed they were sent by Gil to check up on his friend Gringle Goodsale in Apple Lane. I tried to frame the Lunars here as good guys. They returned to Alone & Herongreen recently, bringing food, providing support to the northern region of Sartar. They were genuinely grateful to the adventurers, and cheerful around them. One of them was a local youth who signed up to see the world, then got stuck in his home town. Humanizing the enemy (because the party is SUPER anti-Lunar--but they were part of an offensive defeated by the Crimson Bat, after all...). The adventurers left after about two weeks in the area, to continue their journey in Jonstown, where the signs of hunger and fear grow stronger yet...
  7. SPOILERS BE HERE FOR THE SMOKING RUINS! So, something that's been sort of grinding my goat lately is the estimated value placed on Ernalda's Mirror in TSR: 300,000L (page 86, sidebar). It feels so out of place to me, in comparison with how the core rulebook presents items and value. In particular, what's in my head is the "Value/10" rule of thumb in the RQ2 conversion appendix—and even placing its value at 30,000L still feels like a gigantic sum. Using 60L=yearly income of a free household as an estimate, 300k is 5,000 free households of value, for a little context. At this stage, the amount of value getting tossed around just starts to feel preposterous (not even to mention if a location outside maybe Nochet or Glamour has that quantity of coin sitting around). Like, I feel like "value of kingdoms" or "cities" would make sense to me, but trying to attach a cash value to the Mirror just feels really odd to me and my understanding of Glorantha. Point of discussion: what do y'all think magical artifacts, when sold/traded/etc, actually are exchanged for in terms of value? Is there really stuff out there which would make Argrath go "Yup, here's the keys to Pavis, thanks for the bling," or which a tribal chief would trade rule of a town in exchange for? And how often do these kinds of trades actually happen? I can't help but think that this sort of value is a little like the items from D&D3.5's Epic Level Handbook, which had magic items valued in the millions of gold. It feels like, although RQ typically does scaling in ways I like better than D&D, this is a place where that similar "everything has to keep going up and up and up" gaming mentality creeps in.
  8. One (unexpected) feature of The Smoking Ruins is that we get our first glimpse at Sorcery in full action. We get a look at a Rokari sorcerer who knows five runes and four techniques (why so many? they all can be inferred from one or two), and we get a short introductory description of the House of Black Arkat. The description of the House of Black Arkat in The Smoking Ruins p.136 (sidebar) mentions that I seem to have been under the wrong assumption that the Magic Rune in sorcery spells was a place holder for other runes as it is in divine rune magic. This makes it just another bloody point of INT above 11 blocked, making even an accomplished sorcerer like the one presented quite limited in his abilities - effectively almost as much as a priest of an alemental deity, although under a different paradigm. I really need to produce a chart which allows to search for spells by runes and techniques (and applicable inferred runes or techniques replacing these). The RQG pdf unfortunately doesn't support a text search for the runes. No idea if this functionality could be knit into the pdf, e.g. as an invisible hidden text behind all the graphics. Spells using the Magic Rune include Attract Magic (Magic, Command) Castback (Magic, Stasis, Combine, Command) Drain Soul (Magic, Dispel) Identify Spell (Truth, Magic, Command) Magic Point Enchantment (Magic, Command) Neutralize Magic (Magic, Dispel) Pierce Veil (Magic, Truth, Combine) Protective Circle (Magic, Command) That's actually a fairly big and important selection of the spell, and requires just two condition runes to be able to learn all of these. Let's have a look at the sorcery rules portion in TSR. Spoilers Ahead! Runes and Techniques: Urgantan's mastered runes are Fire, Illusion, Magic, Movement, and Spirit, which gives him also the inferred runes of Earth, Water, Truth and Stasis at doubled MP cost. He has mastered (wastefully) four Techniques, Command (inferring each of the Techniques), Dispel and Summon (which only fail to infer Combine and Separate) Combine (which only fails to infer Dispel and Summon) While this wealth of techniques avoids a couple of MP cost doublings, I wouldn't let a sorcery-using character of mine be so spend-thrift with these rune/technique slots. Dropping either Summon or Dispel for the Air or Darkness rune would give access to all elements but moon. I would probably sacrifice another technique (any but Command) for Fertility or Death, and it would be nifty to have the Man rune, too. But then I am not entirely certain whether one can use a single mastered technique to infer a second technique in spells that require two techniques. Spells: Two of Urgantan's spells have been inscribed to his abode, Create Image 90% and Disappear 90%. In a bending of the rules, the guardian spirit of the entrance is able to re-activate the created image, possibly with the use of the key. RQ3 has a rule for enchantments that adds such conditions to trigger activation or deactivation, but I haven't seen this applied to a long-lasting sorcery spell. Strictly speaking, it should be possible to design a spell allowing such added conditions, but that spell would need to have its own casting skill and memorization slot (or inscription), and it would probably add another rune and a combine technique to the basic Create Image runes. Urgantan has memorized four spells Create Hallucination (50%), 2 points [Illusion, Combine - no MP cost doubling] Create Wall of Flames (50%), 2 points [Fire, Summon - no MP cost doubling] Dominate Discorporate Spirit (50%), 2 points [Spirit, Command - no MP cost doubling] - Shouldn't this be specified for a specific type of spirit? Dominate Fire Elemental (50%), 3 points [Spirit, Fire, Command - no MP cost doubling] He knows a couple more spells but needs to recall these through meditation before being able to cast them: Bind Elemental (25%), Ritual, 3 points POW [Spirit, Fire, Command - no MP cost doubling] (and possibly double cost for Earth and Water elementals, unless these have to be learned separately) Bind Spirit (35%), Ritual, 2 points POW [Spirit, Command - no MP cost doubling] Conflagration (25%), 2 points [Fire, Summon - no MP cost doubling] Enhance INT (25%), 2 points [Fire, Summon - no MP cost doubling] Logical Clarity (25%), 2 points [Illusion, Dispel - no MP cost doubling] Summon Fire Elemental (35%), 3 points [Fire, Command, Summon - no MP cost doubling] Summon Guardian Spirit (35%), 3 points [Spirit, Command, Summon - no MP cost doubling] Identify Otherworld Entity (25%), 3 points doubled [Truth (inferred from Illusion), Spirit, Command - single MP cost doubling] And he has a very own secret spell for which the runes aren't given (and frankly I wonder whether his assortment of runes should allow this spell) Brew Unaging Potion 25% Create Image (inscribed to the tower 90%) 3 points [Illusion, Fire, Combine - no MP cost doubling] Disappear (inscribed to the tower 90%), 4 points [Illusion, Fire, Combine, Command - no MP cost doubling] FInger of Fire (inscribed to a bracelet 70), 3 points [Fire, Movement, Combine - no MP cost doubling] Neutralize Spirit Magic (inscribed to ring 75%), 2 points [Spirit, Dispel - no MP cost doubling] Neutralize Magic (inscribed to ring 60%), 2 points [Magic, Dispel - no MP cost doubling] Spirit Warding (inscribed to diadem 65%), 2 points [Spirit, Dispel - no MP cost doubling] Protective Circle (inscribed to silvery ink pot 35% with 8 POW additional intensity), 2 points [Magic, Command - no MP cost doubling] Looking up the runes for these spells took me about half an hour (ok, writing down the comments included). But it was necessary to note down the basic magic points the spell would need. His magic items include a cheat item ("a special Teleportation spell matrix, allowing this spell to be cast for 6 magic points instead of 3 Rune points"), a POW storage crystal with capacity 17 (two above the 2D6+3 maximum of 15 that you can roll as per Adventure Book p.122), a sorcery spell-strengthening crystal (+3 to spell strength) a 24 MP magic point matrix I wonder: does a sorcery spell-strengthening crystal differ from any other spell-strengthening crystal? One of the Arkati is an excommunicated (or, with the current terminology, Banned) Lhankor Mhy philosopher with a bit of sorcery. Both sorcerers have the average INT (average for a somewhat playable sorcerer) of 20. Yes, this is irksome. These characters are just one point of INT away from species maximum. Both have been optimized so that their sorcery doesn't incur double magic point cost (they still can manage maybe two big spells a day at most with their entirety of available MP, except that the excommunication probably was over the Arkati's knowledge of Tap Body which allows other means of collecting MP). Zindaulo, the sorcerer among the Arkati, has Ward Against Weapons (Death, Dispel) but lacks the Death rune or the Fertility rune (to infer it at double MP cost). His runes are Magic, Man, Disorder and Truth, and he has a lavish three Techniques with Combine, Command, and Tap. Let's have a look at his sorcery spells: Bind Spirit (25%), Ritual, 2 points POW [Spirit, Command - no MP cost doubling] - wait, he doesn'T have the Spirit rune. Castback (40%), 4 points [Magic, Stasis (inferred from Disorder), Combine, Command - doubled magic point cost] Dominate Human (25%), 2 points [Man, Command] Identify Spell (35%), 3 points [Truth, Magic, Command] Magic Point Enchantment (50%), Ritual, 2 Points (plus variable amount of POW?) [Magic, Command] Pierce Veil (20%), 3 points [Magic, Truth, Combine] Tap Body (35%), 2 points [Man, Tap] Ward Against Weapons (30%), 2 points [Death (which he cannot infer), Dispel] This guy has 15 points of Spirit Magic (including an unnecessary duplicate of Magic Point Enchantment), which added to his sorcery spells puts him at -3 points of Free INT. I will assume that my grasp of the rules is flawed, so please correct me if I am wrong anywhere here.
  9. Hi everybody, I'm preparing to run the cool-looking Red Cow campaign from CS/11L, and I have two questions if anyone can help (I've tagged this with 'Spoilers' on the off-chance it reveals deep dark secrets) 1) What's "the Bag" marked on the Jonstown Trail ? (Red Cow Lands map, p.28). The great Glorantha Wiki refers to the "Stagland Bag", but with no other detail I could find. 2) P.21 has the Red Cow Ferry as part of the King's Road <-> Stonegate trail, with the Creek being 80' wide at this point. From my reading though, the Creek seems to be about 500' wide at Red Cow Fort, and the trail could happily run over the wooden bridge (p.30) between Green Meadows and Brannagh's Farm instead avoiding the 'danger of the waters'. Is the ferry located elsewhere, or am I missing something ? Many thanks ! (and apologies if these are obvious, or have been answered elsewhere)
  10. Research is finally complete, to the tune of 183 pages of notes. Well, mostly. Now that I have the basis, I'm going to check out some of the wikis to see if they have anything interesting or unique to add. The synthesis begins. I realized in researching the last book that I was missing the two stories that were the germs of Earthsea, The Word of Unbinding and The Rule of Names, both from Le Guin's short story collection, The Wind's Twelve Quarters, which is basically a sort of retrospective of her first decade of published work. (I happened to have that book as well, primarily because when I find an author that I really like I tend to buy up everything that I can get my hands on that they've ever written.) Unfortunately, they have a much different tone than the Earthsea series, and some of the rules of magic are in flat contradiction to the later books. So I read and discarded them; there's really nothing in there that I find that bears on the setting that isn't already better explained and executed later. This brings me to a question that cropped up while I researched the last few books. While there are things that Le Guin meant to be mysteries from the beginning, there's one issue that nags at me. It has to do with Segoy, the Creator. In the very useful appendix to Tales From Earthsea, where she gives a great deal of background for the world itself, there's a small section relating to Segoy which is as inconclusive as it is unsatisfying (to me). The logic is a bit complex, but bear with me. Let me quote the relevant statements here, interspersed with my own comments. Note: I've omitted page references because of the differences in various editions, using somewhat less specific but indicative ones. So there is no being before Segoy, whether he is a being or not. (I'll use the general pronoun, with the understanding that gender is inconclusive or even inapplicable.) Here we come to multiple ambiguities. If Segoy is an Old Power, he must be the first, since there are no Old Powers of the Earth that aren't connected to one of the islands, unless you count the sea itself, which isn't in the mold of the other Old Powers. I don't find the supposition that Segoy is another name for the Earth particularly compelling either, but it's not germane to the issue I want to deal with. As for 'what is certain,' I don't find it certain at all: If Tehanu calls Kalessin 'Segoy' in the Language of the Making, at best the etymology is the reverse: that the Old Hardic words are a derivation of the name Segoy. Assuming that the familial references are literal, Kalessin, being the son of Orm, cannot possibly be the Segoy, since Segoy was before all beings. This leaves us with the assertion that Segoy is an ancient, respectful nominative, and brings me to my contention: that Segoy is the word for Father in the Language of Making. Segoy is the Creator, the Father of all...and Tehanu calls Kalessin Father because it is literally so. (One wonders how that works out, since Tehanu is one of the 'winged people' and Kalessin is a dragon, but Tehanu's true origin is shrouded in mystery.) The reason I bring this up is that it will definitely appear in the variant...so, does anyone have any counterarguments? Is there some logic I'm missing or that is fallacious, or do you have other interpretations?
  11. Five books down, only one left to research: The Other Wind. The light approaches. After having increased the margins to make hunting for entries faster (and thus reducing the total number of pages by about 15%), the notes still grew to over 140 pages. Tales From Earthsea has by far the most notes of any of the books. Alright, so why am I doing this research, anyway, if there are numerous wikis out there on Earthsea? Well, I'm glad I asked. Three main reasons: first, I didn't want somebody else's filtering getting in the way of the content. Second, I've read entries from a few of them, and none provides much of the information that would be useful in RP'ing, that the books do: physical description, motivations, mannerisms, etc. Mostly the wikis are about history, "X did this, then he/she did that." Or "X was Master of Underwater Basketweaving." Finally, it immerses me in the world to an extent that wikis just can't, so that I have the proper mindset when I start writing. OK, now for some ground rules. You've all read the books, right? Good. About true names: in keeping with the practice in the books, the only true names that will be used in the variant itself will be a small selection of names of objects or animals so that GM's can have some kind of baseline to extrapolate other names, and those personalities whose true names are public knowledge (Lebannen, some dragons, the old Kings/queens). If they really want the other names, enterprising wizards (and GM's) can go through the lore-books. Of course, sneaky bastage that I am, I have a master list of names. (I never quite got why kings would want their true names bandied about; it seems like a security risk to me, at the very least. They're not that well-protected, especially in a world chock full of mages.) Next is physical combat. I think there are a total of three such fights in all the books, excepting the last, which I haven't gotten to yet. While occasional mass battles or dragon-on-wizard violence are mentioned in passing, none of the stories focuses on any kind of melee, or archery, for that matter. Magical duels are much more common; even wizards' staffs aren't used to beat on people, other than the occasional recalcitrant student. So the rules will tend to work accordingly. Besides, a warrior isn't going to be much good when the mage he's fighting binds him. There is one type of magic (wizardry), not three as in Glorantha. The two examples of organized religion, both Kargish, are about temporal power and politics; there's no evidence in the stories that any magic derives from them other than calling the Old Powers in particular ways, and they're limited to the proximity of the Power. Theism otherwise is dead except for the semi-pagan rites of the Long Dance and Sunreturn, and they don't seem to have much practical or spell-like effect. They're more a way of retaining and passing on the oral history of the world. Spirits don't play the same role as they do in Glorantha, either; they generally don't have much effect in the physical world other than informationally. And witchery is just a weaker offshoot of wizardry. So that's where I am right now; at this point I only have general impressions rules-wise, since most of my effort has been doing research...and the dull brain which it tends to engender. Once that's finally done I'll be able to apply more brainpower to synthesis.
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