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Eagle Talon

Lunar campaign in Dragon Pass

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I am looking for interesting ideas for a new campaign. The setting will be around 1627 in Dragon Pass after Argrath lights the flame of Sartar. 

However the PCs will be Lunars from the heartlands drawn into the conflict. The main focus will be adventuring while fighting for the victory of the Red Goddess against the rebel gods. 

So the war is viewed differently than usual. Now viewed from the Lunar side. I’m not considering the published material describing the future of Dragon Pass (past 1627) but instead concentrating on how my Glorantha may vary. 

Any good ideas for Lunar PCs in such an environnement? 
 

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18 minutes ago, Eagle Talon said:

I am looking for interesting ideas for a new campaign. The setting will be around 1627 in Dragon Pass after Argrath lights the flame of Sartar. 

However the PCs will be Lunars from the heartlands drawn into the conflict. The main focus will be adventuring while fighting for the victory of the Red Goddess against the rebel gods. 

So the war is viewed differently than usual. Now viewed from the Lunar side. I’m not considering the published material describing the future of Dragon Pass (past 1627) but instead concentrating on how my Glorantha may vary. 

Any good ideas for Lunar PCs in such an environnement? 
 

When Argath tries to get Kaethela to make him King, they could do something like bringing back Belintar or the Great Old One, so it doesn't bow to him.

When Argath gets mad at Harrek for sacking Black Horse Country, they could recruit Harrek to fight Argath on the side of the Lunars.

That would probably result in Argath being crushed at the Battle of Heroes.

 

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They’re probably convicts given a chance to serve the empire as cannon fodder, to slow the terrifying advance of Argrath while a real imperial response is prepared. The empire wouldn’t want to push their best forward until they were sure they could counter Argrath’s terrifying new magical skills.
 

You could have a lot of fun with this. Their fellows would be wretched scum, the dregs of the empire, maybe even chaotics like Broos, ogres and insane Urain worshippers, all heaped into a ragtag throwaway regiment. The leader would be tough and smart, but very bad, maybe a ogre scimitar master with a vile temper, someone dangerous  enough to keep the others in line, but with a history of civilian atrocities and corruption which keeps him on the dangerous edge of the empire.

Who knows what horrible opportunities to “advance” they might encounter.

 

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1 hour ago, John Biles said:

When Argath tries to get Kaethela to make him King, they could do something like bringing back Belintar or the Great Old One, so it doesn't bow to him.

When Argath gets mad at Harrek for sacking Black Horse Country, they could recruit Harrek to fight Argath on the side of the Lunars.

That would probably result in Argath being crushed at the Battle of Heroes.

 

In a way these are good ideas.

In another way, they emphasize how unimportant and underpowered the pitiful PCs are.  Which, ultimately, I think is a huge problem with the official Glorantha History unless you Insist on YGMV.

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2 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

In a way these are good ideas.

In another way, they emphasize how unimportant and underpowered the pitiful PCs are.  Which, ultimately, I think is a huge problem with the official Glorantha History unless you Insist on YGMV.

Starting when they do pretty much means the PCs are going to be low-powered through a lot of stuff until they can catch up, yes.  By the time Argath lights the Flame of Sartar, a bunch of big things are happening.  But starting there is like starting a Pendragon game right as the Grail Quest starts.


You'd have an easier time in 13th Age Glorantha.

 

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14 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

In a way these are good ideas.

In another way, they emphasize how unimportant and underpowered the pitiful PCs are.  Which, ultimately, I think is a huge problem with the official Glorantha History unless you Insist on YGMV.

Except most RPGs don't let you play the movers and shakers of the setting whose actions decide the fate of entire kingdoms right out of character creation. How many adventuring careers start out with being the big decision-makers and power-brokers of a major war? The usual expectation is that you have to work your way up to that, and after all, the post-Dragonrise period is still only the beginning of the Hero Wars.

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What's with all this defensive cringing? Why all this one-legged-beggar-in-the-gutters, please-don't-give-me-experience nonsense? Just look at the "Tarsh War" player characters or MOB's Lunar Coders for character concepts. Give your players command of an army detachment, inc. priestesses and sorcerers, or let them play as elite special agents of the Empire, sent in after the Dragonrise to troubleshoot those "little local difficulties" in the Pass. Read our "Guide to Glamour," inhale deeply, then plot out your campaign.

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Don't think "I'm just a convict, I'm only obeying orders, they'll tell me what to do." Play as if you were Lord Vader, James Bond, Ace Rimmer. Be the guy in the snappy red-and-bronze uniform who everyone salutes when he drops into the General's command tent to give him new orders from the Heartland. Exude confidence as you sort out these Provincials: they obviously need someone to tell them what to do. Your house sorcerer studied Travel & Journeying at the Lunar College of Magic, she'll help you get those barbarians' myth-complexes straightened out, licketty-split. And if all else fails, you have the Daughter of the Goddess and an elite regiment of the Full Moon Corps on speed-dial. This will be a cinch.

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2 hours ago, EricW said:

You could have a lot of fun with this. Their fellows would be wretched scum, the dregs of the empire, maybe even chaotics like Broos, ogres and insane Urain worshippers, all heaped into a ragtag throwaway regiment.

Also known as Danfive Xaron penitents.

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Tarshite politics is quite interesting.  In addition to the struggle between Fazzur and Paharndros, you have Phargentes the Younger running around.  He's the son of JarEel and Moraides and he's the future Red Emperor.  In 1627 ST, he will be 17 which implies a nasty parallel with this guy:

gameofthrones14_12.jpg?w=800&quality=85

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For character concepts, take a look sideways, maybe? Leverage has five archetypes: grifter (Etyries diplomat or Seven Mothers missionary, the personable "face" of the party), hacker (a Lunar sorcerer or priestess, the magical specialist who can "work" the otherworld and see connections), hitter (this is your straightforward soldier-hero muscle), mastermind (possibly a politician or noble, the one with plans in this world and connections to the Heartland), and thief (ahem, a reformed and penitent thief, I'm sure). Does that inspire anything?

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I'd echo Nick - sure, you could have a campaign of standard foot soldiers, that can have its own fun (there is a rich tradition of drama, and especially comedy, involving grunts in the ranks), but no need to limit yourselves to that. Be commanders, or an elite team, or given special prophecies from the gods or Jar-Eel or Great Sister. 

A few ideas of things to explore

- if you want something a bit murky and morally and politically ambiguous, there is a lot of issues around the Tarsh civil war, and trying to win back the support of the Fazzurites to the Imperial side (who were, after all, certainly raised as Empire loyalists), which would mean manipulating and undermining Phargentos for the good of the Empire. 

- or if you would rather your PCs stay away from the core of politics, make them involved in trying to win all the other potential players in the conflict - Ethilrist, Cragspider, Dragonnewts, Delecti, etc - over to the Lunar side. 

- or act deep cover in Sartar and try to build up internal opposition to Argrath (which shouldn't be too hard) s

- or you could end up being part of Jar-Eel and Great Sisters plan to get rid of the current Empire, perhaps working to neutralise other opponents of it. 

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I played a character based on King Blackmoor the Rabid crossed with (hunchbacked) Richard III and Judas Iscariot for a one-shot Lunars-in-Dragon-Pass game run by Jeff, many years back. My obsessive personal focus was to get a couple of regiments of Tarshite foot (plus cavalry support) and use them to retake my position in my Sartarite tribe (probably the Colymar, but it didn't really come up), wreaking a hideous revenge on the enemies who had exiled me. To do that, I was happy selling out the Daughter of the Goddess (another PC - a visiting floozy from the Capital, come to experience the Tarshite clubbing scene) to her rivals in the Sanhedrin of the Reaching Moon Temple. She was a dangerous, destabilising influence on Tarshite politics, and things would surely settle down if only she could be quietly gotten rid of... 

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5 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

For character concepts, take a look sideways, maybe? Leverage has five archetypes:

I love Heist type games. There are certainly elements of this within my own Tarsh game. 

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I think part of the trick will be to begin the game with the adventurers high on their own supply. Have them come to Dragon Pass actually believing imperial propaganda. That will make their impending collision with messy reality all the more hilarious...

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I prefer to think Jar-Eel has better judgement than Cersei Lannister, so Phargentes the younger isn't quite Joffrey. But there are other inspirations available - a young Mordred. A 17 year old version of St Alia of the Knife. Or any number of books about the young prince with deadly enemies at court, with the PCs as his trusted companions. 

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Try taking it out of Glorantha for a moment.  The bad guys summoned a monster and ate half the army in the reaches and now the orcs or mammoth riders or whatever are mustering on the horizon.  So maybe you're... fighting off raiders; discrediting warlords; slowing down armies; disrupting evil rituals; stealing accoutrements of power. 

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3 minutes ago, davecake said:

I prefer to think Jar-Eel has better judgement than Cersei Lannister, so isn't quite Joffrey. But there are other inspirations available - a young Mordred. A 17 year old version of St Alia of the Knife. Or any number of books about the young prince with deadly enemies at court, with the PCs as his trusted companions. 

Jar-Eel is a person who looked at the Harmony rune and asked 'how do I use this to murder'.  Though she's unlike Cersei in that she's a lot better at binding people to her will. 

That being said, Phargentes the Younger is way too competent to be Joffrey.  Some of that might be possession by the Red Emperor, but he:

  • retakes Arrolia
  • takes tribute from Sog City and reaches the Neliomi Sea
  • Burns down the Reforestation in some part of Peloria
  • Takes Boldhome and erects a bragging Stelae

So this is a man of accomplishments (and certainly a step forward from Argenteus.

Admittedly, a random murder hobo would probably improve on Argenteus.

 

 

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Another possibility:  the University of the Provinces.

Originally established by Moirades in Mirin's Cross (Coming Storm p81), it is now in Furthest as of 1627 ST (RGG p130).  Described as being not a specific location within the city but lessons are being given in homes or public spaces, this implies the university has recently relocated.  

The University needs a campus with magnificent buildings. Marble quarries must be found. .  

The Univesity needs documents, lots and lots of documents.  Lhankor Mhy Temples exists to be dissolved and their lore taken.  Perhaps even a visit to the University of 10,,000 magicians.

The university needs scholars of distinction.  Miskander!  Urvantarn!!  Hunt down these magicians and offer them tenure!

The university need to be better than its rivals.  The Jonstown Library?  The University of Nochet?  Burn them to the ground.

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Just because it's Tarsh doesn't mean you can't have Orlanthi.

Instead of being worshipped by the clans, Orlanth would be worshipped by tattooed toughs and bandits.  Think Hells Angels.  Technically outlawed, the local authorities look the other way when they are involved.  They are often hired by noblemen to do deniable jobs for cash etc.

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1 hour ago, metcalph said:

Tarshite politics is quite interesting.

This is where I'd suggest starting. I'm not really sure what Tarsh looks like in 1627, but a solid rule of thumb for Glorantha is "start small." Start with the Tarshite civil war between Fazzur and Pharandros—this is touched on briefly in the RuneQuest core rulebook, and keeps the game in the Dragon Pass area you're interested in. If you're willing to do some legwork, you could have adventurers from up in the Lunar client kingdoms and the Heartlands, in addition to Lunar Tarshites, or folks from other Homelands converted to the Lunar Way. Playing out a year or two of civil war should give you a lot of gameplay, but I can't personally help with sources on those events, or a timeline.

It also lets you start with a pretty simple concept. "There's these two guys, and you need to decide who you care about..." I think a good premise would be Lunars from the Heartlands who've just arrived, and begin the campaign neutral to the two factions. That gives the players the most agency, and then they can be the deciding factor in the civil war.

Plus, you get a chance at a recurring villain in Fazzur's younger son, Annsted. If I remember correctly, he's a follower of the Lunar Way (and Illuminate, maybe secretly?) who initiates to Orlanth, and becomes one of Argrath's companions according to the Glorantha Sourcebook. I can see this being bittersweet, as the son of an admired general and leader, or as a dark hatred, that the Wideread faction has finally revealed its true colors as followers of the hated Rebellius Terminus, depending on who the adventurers supported in the civil war.

2 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

Play as if you were Lord Vader, James Bond, Ace Rimmer. Be the guy in the snappy red-and-bronze uniform who everyone salutes when he drops into the General's command tent to give him new orders from the Heartland. Exude confidence as you sort out these Provincials: they obviously need someone to tell them what to do. Your house sorcerer studied Travel & Journeying at the Lunar College of Magic, she'll help you get those barbarians' myth-complexes straightened out, licketty-split. And if all else fails, you have the Daughter of the Goddess and an elite regiment of the Full Moon Corps on speed-dial. This will be a cinch.

Sounds less like Vader, more like Grand Moff Tarkin, if you ask me... :D

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3 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

I think part of the trick will be to begin the game with the adventurers high on their own supply. Have them come to Dragon Pass actually believing imperial propaganda. That will make their impending collision with messy reality all the more hilarious...

And that messy reality could be very nasty indeed. The repeated village "interrogation" expeditions which turn out to be nothing more than a shakedown under the pretence of searching for rebels, a chance for the commander to brutally plunder the villagers. The ogre chef who serves them camp rations every evening, see how long it takes them to question exactly what they are eating. The time one of them on guard duty hears a strange noise, goes out into the woods alone to investigate, and discovers the noise is one of the broos hoping to lure a rookie guard out into the woods for a little private time. The suspicious diseases which seem to hit the camp and the surrounding villages on a regular basis, suggesting at least one of their scumbag comrades is a Malia priest. The occasional disappearance, immediately dismissed without investigation as a desertion. The camp Irrippi Ontor initiate records sage who keeps a garrotte hidden under her cloak, and seems interested in supporting the magical progression of the PCs.

Edited by EricW
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1 hour ago, Crel said:

Sounds less like Vader, more like Grand Moff Tarkin, if you ask me... :D

Tatius the Bright channeled both, at different stages of his career.

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26 minutes ago, EricW said:

And that messy reality could be very nasty indeed.

The non-paranoid version is twisty enough. (Jeez! You people!)

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1 hour ago, Nick Brooke said:

The non-paranoid version is twisty enough. (Jeez! You people!)

The good, the bad and the ugly 😉

Edited by EricW

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