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Adventurer groups in Colymar lands


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After I have finished Six Seasons in Sartar, I'm preparing for running the "Gamemaster Adventures" of the screen pack (with as much DP stuff as I can muster from varied sources), and as of now, the one thing that gives me the most problems is the players party relation, origin and verosimilitude. As one of the best things about glorantha is the social aspect, I'm afraid I make a group of aloof vagabonds that everyone hires "just because the story says so" when there are lots of capable warriors that should appear much more reliable to the elders and nobles of sartar. 

Thinking on how to solve this, I have come to the idea of asking you guys, when you GMd or played a campaign of similar characteristics to the one I'm talking about (sort of a post-dragonrise Sartar sandbox), who where the components of the party (origin, cult, personality, etc.)? How did they met? Did they work well together? Did the GM put some "limits" as to the origin/cult of the PCs?

I think that would be very enriching and also fun to read.

Edit: BTW, at the moment the players have stated that they want to make a 1) Uzko Argan Argar trader or Zorak Zorani warrior from Dagori Inkarth 2) a baboon from the Elder Wilds that I will try to convince to at least move its origin to Prax 3) a lunar 4) a sartarite hunter and 5) still doesn't have a clue on what to make. 

Edited by Jape_Vicho
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We have roughly half the PCs in a "core" group of all Colymar / Taralings, including a brother/sister and cousin.  The other half are "vagabonds" who are slowly getting more and more attached to the core group.  It works well.

This gives your players a bit of an option while still tying into the social and clan aspects.  We even have extensive family trees.

Edited by Rodney Dangerduck
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1 hour ago, Jape_Vicho said:

Thinking on how to solve this, I have come to the idea of asking you guys, when you GMd or played a campaign of similar characteristics to the one I'm talking about (sort of a post-dragonrise Sartar sandbox), who where the components of the party (origin, cult, personality, etc.)? How did they met? Did they work well together? Did the GM put some "limits" as to the origin/cult of the PCs?

My current RQG campaign started with Broken Tower (and used the pre-gens).  Two of the players from that continued on, and stayed with the pregens (Harmast and Sorola).  To that we added:  a Balazaring mercenary (in the employ of the Ernaldori chieftain), a Grazer entertainer (with connection via mother to the Colymar), a Colymar Storm Bull initiate, a Colymar Babeester Gor initiate, and an impala rider shaman (who came to Dragon Pass to pursue some spirit-related tasks).  

The centerpoint is that they all are supporting Queen Leika of the Colymar - Harmast has been raised now to a tribal thane, and the rest serve as personal assistants to see to tasks for the queen.  They are working together fine - there's some odds and ends of background connections, but not strongly emphasized.  

I've not added too many restrictions - mostly there needs to be a reasonable reason for being part of the Colymar, and assisting them.  

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33 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

My current RQG campaign started with Broken Tower (and used the pre-gens).  Two of the players from that continued on, and stayed with the pregens (Harmast and Sorola).  To that we added:  a Balazaring mercenary (in the employ of the Ernaldori chieftain), a Grazer entertainer (with connection via mother to the Colymar), a Colymar Storm Bull initiate, a Colymar Babeester Gor initiate, and an impala rider shaman (who came to Dragon Pass to pursue some spirit-related tasks).  

7 players! Now that's a big group. You managing it good? I usually put the top on 4-5 characters. 

22 minutes ago, g33k said:

If you want some links... why not just continue the SSS characters on to the GM-Pack materials?  Just rearrange the socio-political elements, if needed.

YGWV!

That was my first idea, but then I knew that there's going to be sequels to it on the future, so I think we will continue the saga with those. Also being my first glorantha (and rpg in general) campaign I made many errors that make me kind of reluctant to continue with those characters right now. 

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Just now, Jape_Vicho said:

7 players! Now that's a big group. You managing it good? I usually put the top on 4-5 characters.

Actually 6, one player is running 2 characters.  But I run play-by-post, so that's manageable.  In the days when I ran face-to-face, 4-5 was typical, but did have as many as 7-8 at peak (and often players running 2 characters as there were some extended quests, e.g. to Giant Land).

 

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13 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

I have come to the idea of asking you guys, when you GMd or played a campaign of similar characteristics to the one I'm talking about (sort of a post-dragonrise Sartar sandbox), who where the components of the party (origin, cult, personality, etc.)? How did they met? Did they work well together? Did the GM put some "limits" as to the origin/cult of the PCs?

OK, I've run two groups through about a year's worth of RQG in the Colymar region, using a mix of published and playtest scenarios. In both cases, the party had an Orlanthi "front man" who started out on the fringes of Queen Leika's good books.

We went through character generation together, including family history. I had the big poster map of Dragon Pass & Prax, pointed out where people came from and where the battles were happening, and waved my arms around dramatically as we moved through the timeline. Players were looking for places where their parents or grandparents were affected by the same events, and sometimes said "Ah! That must be where our families met." One player decided his Grazelander character must have emigrated to Sartar in around 1615, and used the Sartarite event tables thereafter. Our Praxian got exiled from his clan and did something similar. A lot of them met up on the campaigns after Whitewall, taking part in the Siege of Nochet or the Sack of Pavis, and already knew each other well from those campaigns.

We never fell into the trap of thinking that all those adventurers had "gone home" after the family history events and were living with their own people: that would be ridiculously complicated. When we kicked off, they were already friends who knew and trusted each other and were based in Clearwine, looking for ways to impress Queen Leika.

WILDDAY GROUP: Orlanthi Warrior (a stereotypical "by the book" sloganeering wannabe Wind Lord), Storm Bull Priestess (part-crazed from Lunar magic, rode on a blinged-out White Bull, hated Praxians and came up with battle plans to get her Praxian followers killed), Yinkini Hunter (basically The Cat from Red Dwarf, a Glorantha newbie whose character didn't have to pretend to follow what was going on), and Duck Merchant (modelled on Arfur Daley, trading earthenware and chickens from his barge). We also used Treya from the Smoking Ruin as a PC, and had a visiting Malani Humakti one time.

GODSDAY GROUP: Orlanthi Warrior (from one of those Welsh clans down on the edge of the Troll Woods in Heortland), Grazeland Herder (a laconic native scout: he rides and he shoots), Yelmalion Warrior (with an immense INT via Gifts, and an extensive Geas collection to match), and High Llama Assistant Shaman (with a wonderful back-story involving wicked uncles, disinheritance, and an utterly fanatical devotion to the White Bull).

If you are worried about how different characters will work together, you need to hold a Session Zero and agree on the kind of game you're aiming for, making sure all the players and the GM participate. If one of your players has weird limitations ("I only ever play elves; I can't tolerate anyone who doesn't always agree with me"), get them on the table at the start and give them a good kicking. I didn't limit my players' adventurers' origins or cults at all: we agreed at the outset that our campaign would be based in Colymar Lands and the heroes would be working for Queen Leika and Argrath White Bull, so if someone had wanted to play (let's say) a Lunar Tarshite Noble who worships the Seven Mothers, they'd have needed to come up with a good explanation for why they ended up there. (Which wouldn't be particularly hard, of course. Interesting characters are the best characters)

If you don't know why a good Session Zero is important, please ask!

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14 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

BTW, at the moment the players have stated that they want to make a 1) Uzko Argan Argar trader or Zorak Zorani warrior from Dagori Inkarth 2) a baboon from the Elder Wilds that I will try to convince to at least move its origin to Prax 3) a lunar 4) a sartarite hunter and 5) still doesn't have a clue on what to make.

each group is different so recipes are different

if the members are really different (even more than yours) the joker is "slavery", they are all slaves (I found years ago a french campaign like that : first scenario, the pc wake up in a morokhant camp in prax, and discover prax from their perspective, then they are sold to a sable group who escorted them until a lunar farm)

another possibility is to build some relaltionship between participants before starting

For example lunar and sartarite are mercenaries for a merchant for a long time now. they first disliked but after some hard days they now trust each others

Baboon saved the troll who was badly wounded and the only survivor of an uz expedition (merchant or war). Don't try to do the opposite, a baboon would be a good snack...

and the two groups meet together, first scene : the merchant caravan is attacked by some bad guys, unfortunately the bad guys are uzko ennemies (dwarf ?) every body are killed, the trade good are destroyed. The only survivors are the pc

pray to not see 5 become a ludoch...

 

edit : in all case YGMV but if roleplay and ambiance is important in your table, pc should face bad (sometimes violent) reception every where... baboon is ridiculous everywhere, troll is feared, lunar is hated, etc... it is easier when all are from the same faction (or at least in appearance)

Edited by French Desperate WindChild
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Seconded Nicks Suggestion of a session zero. Work out the groups common backstory or why they are working together rather than having them just meet there and then.

If you DO want them to meet there and then make sure that first adventure is something that makes them bond together as a group, but I'd add players need to have their expectations set that they are going to be working together and to work to that not against it. 

I've just watched "Misfits!" which does an excellent job of mashing the original cast together. (worth a watch if you want to see where Ramsey Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and Klaus Hargreeves (Robert Sheehan) came from) 

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On 9/15/2020 at 12:16 AM, Nick Brooke said:

If you are worried about how different characters will work together, you need to hold a Session Zero and agree on the kind of game you're aiming for, making sure all the players and the GM participate.

Yep! Session Zero is super important and makes everything easier for a campaign.

On 9/14/2020 at 10:52 AM, Jape_Vicho said:

Did the GM put some "limits" as to the origin/cult of the PCs?

Yes, as a GM I might set limitations on what players can pick for homelands, cults, and so on. Another way to do it is to put the responsibility on the players: let them choose whatever they want but they eventually need to justify why they're all friends, or part of this clan, or loyal to this patron NPC, or sailors on this one pirate ship, or whatever is the premise of the campaign (or at least first scenario). I think Nick's idea of using the Family History to find times and places to get together is great!

On 9/14/2020 at 10:52 AM, Jape_Vicho said:

As one of the best things about glorantha is the social aspect, I'm afraid I make a group of aloof vagabonds that everyone hires "just because the story says so" when there are lots of capable warriors that should appear much more reliable to the elders and nobles of sartar. 

If I understand this correctly, you have a bunch of characters that were created for and played through Six Seasons in Sartar, and you want to find a plausible way to move them over to the Gamemaster Adventures? So I assume that all the characters are born or adopted into the Haraborn clan? That clan is part of the Colymar tribe so it should be very straightforward to have them work for Queen Leika and other Colymar NPCs? Those are the character's bosses, after all, and them seeing Leika come back to the throne should give them ample motivation to go pay their respects and ask if they can serve her in anyway. What kind of actual problems are you having in this case?

Edited by lordabdul
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1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

If I understand this correctly, you have a bunch of characters that were created for and played through Six Seasons in Sartar, and you want to find a plausible way to move them over to the Gamemaster Adventures?

No, no, I ran SSS with a group of players (whose characters were all heortling children, as I put that as mandatory), we finished it a week ago, and for now, we put that saga of story and characters on hold, for an undecided amount of time, for various reasons. 

Now, the same group and I are going to start (probably in october as I still have a lot of reading to do) a campaign that amalgamate the gamemaster adventures, and the other 2 adventure books for RQG that are now released, in which the players are going to create brand new characters. As some players have took a liking to some weird races (baboons and durulz) I'm scared that the party would look rather "stupid" or untrustworthy to the sartarites they will communicate with most of the time.

It's funny btw how none of you have mentioned to have had any non-human in the party, looks like I have a group with strange tastes. 

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7 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

No, no,

Ah OK, makes sense. In that case I would probably keep it simple and let them create whatever character they want, but require that they have been part of the Colymar tribe for a certain time (a couple years at least maybe?)... enough to gain a Loyalty passion or something in the same vein. It's also common to use session zero to either come up with how the PCs came to know each other, or for each PC to know at least one other PC (again, as per Nick's idea, you can piggyback off the Family History to find ideas for that).

7 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

It's funny btw how none of you have mentioned to have had any non-human in the party, looks like I have a group with strange tastes. 

I know several people around here had, indeed, baboons and ducks and more as PCs in their groups, so expect a deluge of anecdotes :)

Edited by lordabdul
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9 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

As some players have took a liking to some weird races (baboons and durulz) I'm scared that the party would look rather "stupid" or untrustworthy to the sartarites they will communicate with most of the time

And you are right to be scared 😛

you will facea lot of issues :

- as I said previously, hate, fear, etc...

- but also language : hown many of them can speak sartarite and or trade talk ? with a chance to be understood and to understand  (10% is not enough to be confident) the indigenous. They must all get a 40-50% in a common language for the group too

- and discretion... Impossible to not be identified. If there is investigation, everyone will remember a troll, a baboon, etc... no need of int%, scan%, ... even the dumber sartarite will recognize them

 

May I suggest that at least one pc is sartarite (orlanth with orate or issaries) and become the official leader (at least when they talk with them)

If not, you as a gm will have to create a home scenario that place the group as a saviour of some well known person/village/town. With the notoriety and protection of a well respected cult or leader, that will help them to survive

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17 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

As some players have took a liking to some weird races (baboons and durulz) I'm scared that the party would look rather "stupid" or untrustworthy to the sartarites they will communicate with most of the time.

It's funny btw how none of you have mentioned to have had any non-human in the party, looks like I have a group with strange tastes. 

There's a lovely bit in the computer game "King of Dragon Pass" where a bunch of weird misfits show up and call themselves adventures. Spoiler :- They will totally kick your clans backside if you mess with them.   Yes if the players choose to play lots of odd races or cultures it will take a good session zero to work out why they are all together...but a "Strangers in a Strange land" game can utterly work and yes they will have racism and challenges as a result. But hey ho. 

My regular RQG group are playing The Witcher TTRPG as a break and all chose to run non-humans bar one. They're going to have an interesting trip as a result. Which as a GM is cool and thats my plot sorted for me then 😄 

 

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14 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

- but also language : hown many of them can speak sartarite and or trade talk ? with a chance to be understood and to understand  (10% is not enough to be confident) the indigenous. They must all get a 40-50% in a common language for the group too

I will definetly take that advice and make all have minimun 50% heortling (with a reason as to how). When I ran The broken tower months ago one of the PCs was Vostor, and his 10% heortling certainly made things uncorfortable and difficult.

14 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

May I suggest that at least one pc is sartarite (orlanth with orate or issaries) and become the official leader (at least when they talk with them)

[Spoilers for The thane of Apple Lane]

As the Gamemaster Adventures book advices, I will have them make at least an initiate of orlanth or an associated cult for him/her to be the thane and an ernalda or associated initiate. 

13 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

You must have missed my Duck Merchant.

I certainly did, and after reading some lines about ducks in The duel at Dangerford, it's even funnier.

 

I will definetly make a session 0 and we will work together to create a cool and logical backstory for the group.

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20 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:
On 9/20/2020 at 7:56 AM, Nick Brooke said:

You must have missed my Duck Merchant.

Ducks are so easily overlooked.

Pektok, a Humakti Sword, was coming up a spiral staircase and was hit in the head with an impaling Arbalest bolt. the Player argued that Derak the Dark Troll was coming up the stairs immediately behind Pektok and would have been seen way before Pektok could be seen. The GM agreed and killed derak instead of Pektok. So, yes, Ducks are easily overlooked.

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  • 3 weeks later...

For anyone interested, yesterday we finished the character creation, te group ended up being: 

-An Odayla huntsman and a Chalana Arroy healer who are twins and children of the last thane of Apple Lane. When lunars came to kill Gringle and their father they escaped and were chased but were saved by the next character. 

-A humakti Durulz that grew up in a humakti temple in Lismelder lands after his whole community was slain by sartarites who wanted to profit from the duck hunt. He can't use shields, partake in ambushes or eat vegetables, but he can sense undeads and has a blessed sword that does double damage. When he saved the twins he decided to join them and travel to hendrikiland to join Broyan's army. 

-A Kitori Uzko insect herder that rides a giant praying mantis. He was herding insects with his pack near the footprint when they were attacked and massacred by a horde of scorpion-men. The group found him and his mantis as the last survivors and badly wounded, the CA healer brought them to health and they became friends.

After that they sticked together through the great winter and after the battle of Auroch Hills they followed broyan to Esrolia, where they fought in the siege of Notchet and in Pennel Ford. They then remained in hendrikiland with Leika until the Dragonrise. Now they have decided to return together to Apple Lane. 

 

The Uzko almost was a ZorakZorani, but we backed up when we realized that they are fond of ritually gang beating lone humakti to death and that they have to swear never to work with Orlanth and Humakt worshippers when they reach Death Lord status, thus he couldn't be able to get along with the odaylan either. 

I'm also worried that the Odayla cult has very few spells, I'm guessing it's because it's a weaker cult, subservient to his father's, so I'll probably advise the player to initiate in Orlanth too as the campaign progresses. 

 

Edited by Jape_Vicho
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1 hour ago, Jape_Vicho said:

can't use shields, ... and has a blessed sword that does double damage

Ouch.  If you can't use shields, that's just crying out for 2H sword, and somehow a duck with a Rhomphaia would look so cool...

The Humakti duck in my campaign is always overlooked.  He's not big, but has a high POW and loads of rune points, so is rarely without a truesword, which more than makes up for a lack of damage bonus.

Sorry to hear the Baboon didn't make it into the final mix, it would have had a perfect hook for an Apple Lane based campaign! 

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3 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

-A humakti Durulz... can't use shields...

1 hour ago, Stephen L said:

Ouch.  If you can't use shields, that's just crying out for 2H sword, and somehow a duck with a Rhomphaia would look so cool...

There's also parrying dagger as an option. The durulz in my game has two broadswords, one is iron and has +HP blessing gift for a bit of extra survivability.

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3/4 characters in my campaign are first or second cousins from the same bloodline, and the 4th is a Praxian whose grandfather had fought for Sartar. One of the Ernaldoris had freed Pavis with him, they had befriended, and the Sartarite had invited him to see Sartar after Dragonrise. In the Broken Tower one of the dead herders was from the same bloodline, and killer was from a family they had a blood feud with. We rolled for the relatives and joined them together in a family tree. Same with the enemy family. The group consists of an Orlanthi crafter, Orlanthi singer, Odaylan hunter, and a Humakti Bison Tribe Praxian. The only restrictions were no Eurmalis, and no major Elder Races, and that most of the group should be locals. Even though most of the characters are from the same family, and some share cults, the characters have quite different, uh, characters.

The players have murder-hoboed a bit, and have had to pay huge wergilds for it. We've ran all the Adventure Book scenarios, the Money Tree, and the Rattling Wind, plus some small encounters, and three characters have died so far. The Humakti warrior who was a master lancer, rider, and swordsman died in the first encounter against the rock lizards on account of fumbles and criticals. So to save time from rolling a new character and backstories and fit them with the group etc. his brother (with similar stats, skills and family history) appeared on the scene. He had been left behind, since he had lost his sanity fighting against Lunar Demons. He had regained it shortly after his brother and their Sartarite friend had left, and rode after them, but arrived too late to save his brother. The other dead characters were raised.

One of the group was made a Thane, which helps getting the characters involved with scenarios, since the king can order him to do something, and he gathers his relatives and friends to help him. It also helps that the group has an opponent in the court who has the king's ear, so they get assigned into all kinds of dangerous missions.

Edited by Brootse
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Doubt this will help but I had all my characters be from the same clan, growing up together. There was resistance at first but now that they understand the deep social component of the game they appreciate having shared backgrounds, readily available relatives with skills and knowledge they can draw on, interesting back stories and storylines, etc.

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