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Monster of the Month #2 — Geiron, Lord of Elephants

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This month's installment of Monster of the Month is now live! Monster of the Month is a series of new bestiary entries for Chaosium's RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha. In addition to statblocks and behavior, most entries include supplemental detail and advice for gamemasters and/or new adventurer options for players.

Geiron, Lord of Elephants is available on DriveThruRPG here. This new bestiary entry includes:

  • Description of Geiron—his powers, where he appears, and what he remembers of the God Time
  • Two adventure seeds to help the gamemaster utilize Geiron in their campaign
  • A spirit cult by which players can initiate their adventurers into the worship of the Lord of Elephants

Publisher's Quality Stock Art © Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games

geiron cover small.png

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Many thanks to @Bill the barbarian for ongoing editing and proofreading, and to everyone who bought the previous installment. I'm utterly gobsmacked that that little PDF became a Copper Bestseller. Thank you!

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Hmm hmm hmmmmm ...

Fascinating...

YGWV and all that, so the real answer is "however you want," but I'm curious if this links at all -- as written -- into any of the existing "elephant" or "mammoth" lore of Glorantha (minimal as it is...)

 

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On 2/28/2020 at 6:33 AM, Diana Probst said:

Oh, that is pretty.

Art was really influential on Geiron. My design process was basically "Ooh, I wanna stat that thing out! And then inflict it on my players. And may as well put it on the JC, if I'm going to go to that much trouble..."

On 2/28/2020 at 10:49 AM, g33k said:

YGWV and all that, so the real answer is "however you want," but I'm curious if this links at all -- as written -- into any of the existing "elephant" or "mammoth" lore of Glorantha (minimal as it is...)

However you want. ;)

I did a fair bit of reading-up on Genert's Garden and Earthfall (again, such as it is in available forms) but didn't explicitly seek out more "elephant lore" than that mastodons & mammoths are available in the Glorantha Bestiary. My main lore goal was to present the Battle of Earthfall as "this is a thing that happened" for newer players.

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A nice jaw-dropper of a monster, ideally served only from a distance. As the object of a spirit cult, actually useful.

As written, Geiron insta-kills two mooks per melee round. I wish you had provided some suggestion how to avoid that in your Hunting Geiron proposal.

You're hit, you're dead. Seriously, with 15 dice each rolling a 2, just about every character is a goner, unless you allow a limit of damage of 3 times location hit points to affect a character hit on a limb. Only Earth Shield has a chance for survival, and use of that will invite a trunk sweep that requires Flight to survive.

20 point skin is another killer. The Foundchild cult doesn't offer any magics to boost a weapon to such a damage. You need to have a special or critical success (impale or slash) and Speedart or a high bladesharp to achieve a chance at penetrating that armor, and an exceptional damage bonus (which a Strength spell might offer). The Harpoon on the Zola Fell might go pling against this target.

Do you picture a Geiron hunt like the British generals tackled the machine gun nests at the Battle of the Somme, with hunters being smashed to pulp left and right to power the hunting magic?

How many hunters can attack Geiron at a time? If these are somewhat proficient hunters in the 80% spear attack range, one out of twenty attacks would land a critical hit doing direct damage, and four more would have a small chance to add some damage through that armor. If you are generous to allow 20 attacks per melee round, that is two hunter deaths for each critical hit causing something like 25 points of damage, at the price of the lives of two hunters. If you allow only 8 attacks per melee round, on average five hunters would die for each wound. With POW 30, Geiron is immune to Disruption unless you have a spell reinforcing crystal aiding the caster.

Having a shaman weakening the entity to only half its armor will reduce the death toll by a few melee rounds, but I don't expect such a "hunt" to result in less than a dozen dead hunters simply because of the near endless amount of hit points to take away.

How do you suggest Geiron to pick his insta-kill victims? That is a life-or-death question for any player character participating in the hunt.

Without some guidance how to handle this, I wouldn't advise to even consider the hunt option, unless you are willing to feed half the party to that event, or use it to tie off a campaign.

I wish there was a rule in RQG in general or in monster descriptions like this that made successful attacks on armor like thick skin or blubber to cause some minimal hit point damage after overcoming 3 or 4 points of armor - a less than total damage deduction. In the long run, these minor stings may be enough to topple that monster, but in the short term, feeling the sting of that attack may influence the monster's next attack target.

 

 

Too bad you did not look east towards Teshnos, an elephant-worshiping country right next to Genert's Garden, and semi-regularly "visited" by Praxian (well, beast rider) raiders. I can see definite potential for the use of elephant spirits on that theater of war.

I have some minor quibbles like postulating Kajabor at Earthfall when the invading Chaos army was that of the Unholy Trio and Wakboth, but then Wakboth and Kajabor have always been hard to tell apart.

Why do you describe Mastodons as the runts of the elephant family? They have shorter legs, but longer bodies than mammoths, and are about as heavy. With 5 meter long tusks.

Edited by Joerg
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33 minutes ago, Joerg said:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

As written, Geiron insta-kills two mooks per melee round. I wish you had provided some suggestion how to avoid that in your Hunting Geiron proposal.

You're hit, you're dead. Seriously, with 15 dice each rolling a 2, just about every character is a goner, unless you allow a limit of damage of 3 times location hit points to affect a character hit on a limb. Only Earth Shield has a chance for survival, and use of that will invite a trunk sweep that requires Flight to survive.

20 point skin is another killer. The Foundchild cult doesn't offer any magics to boost a weapon to such a damage. You need to have a special or critical success (impale or slash) and Speedart or a high bladesharp to achieve a chance at penetrating that armor, and an exceptional damage bonus (which a Strength spell might offer). The Harpoon on the Zola Fell might go pling against this target.

Do you picture a Geiron hunt like the British generals tackled the machine gun nests at the Battle of the Somme, with hunters being smashed to pulp left and right to power the hunting magic?

How many hunters can attack Geiron at a time? If these are somewhat proficient hunters in the 80% spear attack range, one out of twenty attacks would land a critical hit doing direct damage, and four more would have a small chance to add some damage through that armor. If you are generous to allow 20 attacks per melee round, that is two hunter deaths for each critical hit causing something like 25 points of damage, at the price of the lives of two hunters. If you allow only 8 attacks per melee round, on average five hunters would die for each wound. With POW 30, Geiron is immune to Disruption unless you have a spell reinforcing crystal aiding the caster.

Having a shaman weakening the entity to only half its armor will reduce the death toll by a few melee rounds, but I don't expect such a "hunt" to result in less than a dozen dead hunters simply because of the near endless amount of hit points to take away.

How do you suggest Geiron to pick his insta-kill victims? That is a life-or-death question for any player character participating in the hunt.

Without some guidance how to handle this, I wouldn't advise to even consider the hunt option, unless you are willing to feed half the party to that event, or use it to tie off a campaign.

 

I wish there was a rule in RQG in general or in monster descriptions like this that made successful attacks on armor like thick skin or blubber to cause some minimal hit point damage after overcoming 3 or 4 points of armor - a less than total damage deduction. In the long run, these minor stings may be enough to topple that monster, but in the short term, feeling the sting of that attack may influence the monster's next attack target.

 

 

Too bad you did not look east towards Teshnos, an elephant-worshiping country right next to Genert's Garden, and semi-regularly "visited" by Praxian (well, beast rider) raiders. I can see definite potential for the use of elephant spirits on that theater of war.

I have some minor quibbles like postulating Kajabor at Earthfall when the invading Chaos army was that of the Unholy Trio and Wakboth, but then Wakboth and Kajabor have always been hard to tell apart.

Why do you describe Mastodons as the runts of the elephant family? They have shorter legs, but longer bodies than mammoths, and are about as heavy. With 5 meter long tusks.

 

If a mythological creature has some trait that makes it all but unkillable, but it's still the subject of a hunting quest (this world, hero-world, or spirit-world), then the quest would and should include a step to negate or defeat this ability (for instance, "if you find the magical tree, appease the guardian, and make your arrows out of its wood, these arrows ignore the target's armor"). This is one of the things that make quests so useful - if you adhere to the quest, you get the critical things you need, but if you just bumble into it, you get crushed. If it's not there, you don't really have a quest.

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I would have liked to see a party of hunters and spirit cult followers, at least outlined.

In order to have the spirit cult, you need the spoils of a previous hunt. Each such item would be accompanied by the names of the hunters that provided it, and those who gave their lives for it.

I think I would add the obligation to find the divine beast and to lay it to rest again whenever Geiron manifests anywhere and the spirit cult learns about it. Possibly restricted to the officiating person taking care of the artifact, who may also provide the magical song making that feat somewhat possible.

In my hidden comments above, I forgot to count in one obvious weapon of a Praxian hunter - the damage bonus from his steed charging. But even charging rhinos, bisons or high llamas only add the chance for a flesh wound. Missile hunters and especially Impala riders are dependent on critical hits to be noticed.

Edited by Joerg
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26 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Gents. please do be aware this is a brand new product (I feel the usual spoiler rules do apply, as a result) so can we cache some of the discussion under spoiler tags. Please.

OK

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@Joerg and @Akhôrahil, thanks so much for the feedback on Geiron.

He is meant to be on scale with the Terrors in the Glorantha Bestiary. One of my goals was an experiment with writing a Terror which wasn't Chaotic. I don't see myself writing another Terror in the near or intermediate future because they're of limited use to gamemasters playing week-to-week, but I'll keep your comments in mind for future projects.

The scaling comments in "Hunting Geiron" were inspired from the scaling advice in Beer With Teeth's Rocks Fall, as an attempt to make Geiron actually, y'know, playable. Akhorahil, your suggestions on developing it further into an actual hunting heroquest are great. I saw fragments of that line of thought, but didn't pursue them adequately in a prior draft.

While I'm not likely to write another Terror soon, I did quite enjoy writing the spirit cult, and I do anticipate writing more of them throughout my material. They feel like an easy way to provide color or flair to an area or subject without making large-scale "This is how My Glorantha is!" -type claims. Joerg, thanks for the suggestions re: cult leaders, structure, and ecology in Prax. I'll try to refer back to them next time I'm writing and placing a spirit cult into the world.

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Oh you poor bastiches (as the main main is wont to say) are so in for it with the next monster of the month.... It is truly terrifying!

Bwahahahah!

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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Just bought the booklet, really enjoyed it, would love to see an expansion on the spirit cult!

Geiron's Greater Darkness myth is very evocative too, leads lots of other potential mythic pathways, great stuff.

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