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Hyperlexic

Using HQ in the Lunar Empire - tips, tricks, and homebrew?

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Hi all - I am (once again) thinking of setting a game in the Lunar Empire. 

I thought I’d see if people have any advice or material for how best to use HQ for this. 

I have to re-read the Lunar magic portion of HQ:G and may have more specific questions after that. 

I also have the old Hero Wars / Issaries Lunar books and will look back at that, for cult structure etc if nothing else. Similarly I’d be very interested in any home brew materials or personal setting/rules info. 

 

Thanks in advance!

Hyperlexic

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25 minutes ago, Hyperlexic said:

Hi all - I am (once again) thinking of setting a game in the Lunar Empire. 

I thought I’d see if people have any advice or material for how best to use HQ for this. 

I have to re-read the Lunar magic portion of HQ:G and may have more specific questions after that. 

I also have the old Hero Wars / Issaries Lunar books and will look back at that, for cult structure etc if nothing else. Similarly I’d be very interested in any home brew materials or personal setting/rules info. 

 

Thanks in advance!

Hyperlexic

read The Entekosiad for thematic inspiration (don't sweat the details, enjoy the tone and weirdness). It's literally a guidebook for heroquesting Sedenyan myths and repeats the questor's steps at the end if anyone wants to quest any of the steps of Valare's movement through the Red Goddess' previous incarnations.

Lunars call heroquesters "travel & journeyers", and think the term "heroquest" is what savage barbarians say.

(The above link is to the pdf at Chaosium, but I bought it in paperback from there because I like paperback.)

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
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57 minutes ago, Hyperlexic said:

Hi all - I am (once again) thinking of setting a game in the Lunar Empire. 

I thought I’d see if people have any advice or material for how best to use HQ for this. 

The usual advice...

Pick a place in the Empire that tickles your interest. Read up on it in the Guide, look at neighboring places. If it still holds your interest, start asking detail questions in these forums.

Most of the Empire is defined by the cities, their ruling and otherwise influential houses, and the political, magical and economic networking of the main players in the place(s).

 

Pick a side.

Really - go for one side in a number of disputes. Lunar vs. old religion vs. enemy old religion. If Lunar nobility (either your players directly, or their sponsors), different lineage to the Red Emperor.

Figure out a few strengths and weaknesses of your patrons and their rivals. If you want a little bit of sandbox, there is a clan "game" in some of the older HQ material, with five stats for Harmony, War, wealth, magic, and (a fifth one), and assign some ability ratings to these. One of those should be excellent, one should be almost hopeless, the rest somewhat competent. Raise for the overall influence of the patrons in the Empire. Define what makes these stats get these values.

Jeff's experimental HQ game between two such factions threw three or four problems in the path of the factions - internal ones, ones with external influences, and a number of plots between these factions coming to bloom against the target or to haunt the originator.

Possibly rinse and repeat for a number of your factions to keep track of changes in influence and power, and to create opportunities to do something about that or deal with it. Pick two or three of these, and present them to your players in the usual shape of patrons or allies approaching your superiors, or troubling those superiors directly. Resolve them not in a simple contest roll, but play them out normally (while using simple contest rolls for the rest of the world).

Try to keep a diary. Color-code your factions in your spread-sheet that tracks past conflicts and resolutions. You will get something similar to "Military Experience in Dragon Pass" from Different Worlds 27 (IIRC).

If you build this back long enough, including a number of events taken from the history in the Guide, you will also arrive at a "what my parent/grandparent was involved with".

 

Each house can get a number of characters - tied to the faction abilities, or extra ones. Fewer than in Champions of the Red Moon. Recycle some of those.

 

Take a look at Harald Smith's Nochet campaign on RPGGeek for ideas how your player house/clan may be obligated to various (often opposed) higher tier factions and same tier factions, and possibly a few dependent factions, too.

Heartland politics and dart competitions are supposed to be labyrinthine, so you might have to prepare at least a few names and special relationships for two or three dozen factions. You don't need to name or flesh out these all at once, just keep in mind that there will be such, and each of these may have significant inter-connection with others. Possibly best expressed/protocolled by hyperlinks, as I think that relationship maps will break down or become a veritable knot of threads across a whiteboard with index cards and photos.

 

Outsource these factions - set up a thread or a group where volunteers interested in the Empire may suggest actions for these factions. Perhaps narrating the meta-game of factions may end up the more interesting game. A kind of darts league...

 

There are both gems of inspiration and superfluous complications in the HQ1 era Lunar books. The association in Champions of the Red Moon has a few believable parts in the first half of the description of that association, but the entire thing had too little cohesion and too many weird addendums to have become sensible. And it lacks opposition. Still, a tiered array of factions may be deduced from it.

 

On the whole, you may have two or three games and quite a bit of book-keeping or otherwise anecdotal tracking if you want a dynamic setting where the player actions or the meta-player actions create meaningful changes.

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Thanks, Joerg. I assume this is Herr Baumgartner. 

I probably should have been more specific in my brief ask - I’m most interested in specifically HQ rules items, since HQ:G defaults the player creation in particular to Dragon Pass. 

I’ll definitely have to think about the “clan rating” idea. That’s a good option. 

I agree with you comments about the Champions in the HW material, both the pros and cons. 

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Herr Baumgartner is reserved for work...

So are you looking for keywords? That will depend strongly on the (local) culture you are going to choose. Dara Happan and "some form of Lodrilite" works everywhere, but IMO it also fails to capture the reality of anywhere in the Empire away from Oslir River.

 

Playing as Dart Competition strike group does allow you to mix and match just about any background. Your campaign would need to determine just the house you are serving with and a number of rival houses you may have to fend off or attack yourself.

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4 hours ago, Hyperlexic said:

I’m most interested in specifically HQ rules items

Since HQG includes a summary of Lunar magics and the important cults (plus full writeup of 7 Mothers), there's really not much else you need from a rules aspect.  Mostly you just need to keep the Lunar cycle in mind.

7 hours ago, Hyperlexic said:

I also have the old Hero Wars / Issaries Lunar books and will look back at that, for cult structure etc if nothing else.

For areas/places, I'd defer to the Guide rather than the Issaries books. Personally, I'd skip most of the cults there, too, but if you find something interesting, you might keep it localized to a city or small region.

More useful might be Greg's Lives of Sedenya, which were in the Rule One online fanzine starting here: http://ruleonemagazine.com/Iss5/Myth_LifeSedenya.php 

Also there's a lot of fun stuff about the Lunar Empire on Nick Brooke's website here: http://etyries.albionsoft.com/etyries.com/moonie/index.html 

He did a lot of work on the Carmania region of the Empire, which you might find useful, too: http://etyries.albionsoft.com/etyries.com/carmania/index.html 

For character generation:

  • Choose a city or region (e.g. Raibanth, Rinliddi, Pelanda) for cultural keyword. Doesn't need to be particularly fleshed out ahead of time.
  • Identify a community (e.g. if you like the Associations concept, you could utilize that) - generally you'll have some noble/priestly "clan" that dominates (to which you either belong or have a Loyalty relationship to), and your community probably provides various support for
  • Choose occupational keyword - nothing new needed there
  • Choose runes as normal. Besides the Lunar pantheon, the Solar pantheon certainly is present (Yelm, Dendara, Shargash, etc.), Lodril and the Earth/River cults will be prominent for anyone of lower social status. 

And you're pretty much ready to go aside from whatever background you want to work out.

 

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The Brown Book of Zzabur site has several HQG-style write-ups for solar cults a homelands Red Goddess one. The HW-era ILH vol 2 still has the most resources for deep cut Lunar cults though (and has Hwarin!).

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Thanks for inspiring me to look through ILH2 again.There are all these references in other works to the various Lunar Immortals & New Gods, institutionalized encouragement of Illumination and apotheosis, etc, but to date ILH2 is the only place it's ever been detailed - in all its HQ1 excessive-sub-cults glory. While I'm glad the upcoming GaGoG book for RQ will give at least some of these cults some love, ILH2's deep dive on the Lunar Way is likely to remain unparallelled for a long time to come.

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I've run a short Lunar HGQ game. I used the HQG rules, and while I read the ILH2 ones I didn't end up using them much. 

The Lunar Magic rules, with the multiple phases, are really interesting. Lunar characters can become very versatile - which eventually more than compensates for the lack of feats, IMO. 

Lunar characters can also mix in some sorcery, which also mixes it up a little, and my game featured a Jakaleel shaman too. And a Carmanian Necromancer. 

Illumination is peculiar. It is only a 1 pt ability, but it changes a character a lot, and many PCs will want to have it. But becoming Illuminated in the pure Lunar tradition is supposed to be quite traumatic, and quite a story challenge, so you might want to consider you handle it.

Illumination can be a fun story element - NPCs coming up with mad plans in a fit of Illuminated zeal, untrustworthy gurus, issuing bizarre commands, etc.

A major element for a Lunar game can easily be politics, deceit, the enemy within etc. 

 

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Thanks all for the comments!

You’ve all given me quite a bit to think about... and I need to reread some material, notably the Lunar parts of HQ:G. I seem to remember the Lunar magic seeming designed for existing characters converting to it, especially the moon alignment, but maybe I just didn’t understand it. I’ll reread. 

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