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So what’s the deal with the Elf Sea?


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On 12/22/2020 at 10:58 PM, Kloster said:

Yes, good idea. But who would hunt an aquatic lizard of more that 2 tons and 10 meters long with bronze age weapons, even enhanced with magic?

This fellow certainly would - Barran the Monster Killer, from Strangers in Prax (back cover shown here). In Jonathan Tweet's excellent scenario Barran takes on the SIZ 615 (two km long!) giant eel known as The Vomiter. With the help of the player characters of course.

1701374537_BarrantheMonsterKiller-backcoverofSiP.thumb.png.1cadff601e575fbbfc64281917bd5942.png

Edited by MOB
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18 hours ago, GMKen said:

Given the fairly gentle slopes down towards the sea, I wouldn’t expect it to be too deep.  Then again, maybe a chunk of the Spike impacted there, punching the surrounding terrain downwards toward the impact site and creating a deep hole and birthing a water goddess to fill the volume.  Or not.

There's also the aspect of a Chaos horde coming through and melting away the Gap of Tork.  The Chaos might equally have melted, dissolved, mutated, or obliterated some amount of the Earth there, so quite possible to have a deep pit beneath (no indication of a Hole to Hell though).  One possibility is that Chaos dissolved enough to either reveal or summon a dragon, which turned the Chaos westward through Tork, and subsequently took up residence.  The waters then flowed over the dragon.  Subsequently, the dreams of said dragon have given rise to all manner of monstrous sea creatures.

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The Elf Sea would be easier to freeze were it not so deep...

I may be having a YGMV moment, because now I’m having flashbacks to an old TV show with IIRC Lloyd Bridges as a diver in the Florida Keys having adventures and exploring wrecks.  Wrecks with sharks that jump scare you as they swim out of the dark hold.  Wrecks with treasures.  Hold on...Sea Hunt.

In Gloranthan tech terms that means Frog Masks for your scuba equipment.  Each only lasts an hour, so you want a bunch of them.  Aluminum armor protects you.  A trident for poking the beasties in the nose.

I’m kind of liking the idea of the adventurers being hired to find an old Aldryami wreck and salvage something from it.  Which leads me to the question of what kind of stuff the elves would be carting around the Elf Sea.  The lack of Murthdroi does kind of bug me, though.  Maybe there’s a small remnant struggling to survive against the onslaught of monsters.

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49 minutes ago, GMKen said:

The lack of Murthdroi does kind of bug me, though.  Maybe there’s a small remnant struggling to survive against the onslaught of monsters.

That is the kind of mystery that Adventurers can solve. As a GM, I like to throw things in for the Adventurers to solve without having a clue about what they mean or how the Adventurers can solve the puzzle. They can uncover secrets through play and tell me what is going on, or at least find things that I explain to them on the fly.

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2 hours ago, GMKen said:

The lack of Murthdroi does kind of bug me, though.  Maybe there’s a small remnant struggling to survive against the onslaught of monsters.

Why?  It's not like great colonies of seaweed are common to lakes and seas.  You can certainly get algae blooms, stagnant duckweed, etc. but not sure those are typical of blue elves.  Most likely you'll get patches of marsh grasses, reeds, etc. along the margins.  These could be home to naiads (or voughs and their spawn), but they may have few sentient followers.

In my Amber Fort campaign (Imtherian/Lunar colonists along the mouth of the West, aka the Gap, River at the western edge of the Elf Sea) which I ran back in the mid-90s, the colonists were busy trying to propitiate the river nymph to get her aid against the sea monsters.  One of the PC's fell into the river, but succeeded in befriending the nymph - a teal-colored baby was subsequently left beside the fort.

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On 12/26/2020 at 9:12 AM, GMKen said:

Yeah, and the depth question...  Given the fairly gentle slopes down towards the sea, I wouldn’t expect it to be too deep.  Then again, maybe a chunk of the Spike impacted there, punching the surrounding terrain downwards toward the impact site and creating a deep hole and birthing a water goddess to fill the volume.  Or not.  If shallow, then Frog Masks are definitely a good option.  They would seem to limit your line of sight, though, making aquatic ambushes quite likely.  Heh, heh, heh.  Would provide access to any sunken wrecks of the living boats of the Aldryami, which would be interesting.  Who knows what kind of lost treasures might be found therein...

This is an interesting scenario idea, but getting enough people who just happen to be able to breathe water together, and who would be interested enough in Aldryami treasure to bankroll the necessary magic might be a bit of an ask.  I suppose that the party of adventurers from the River of Cradles Supplement and their tattoos might be up to the task.  Finding enough frog masks might be a tall order for other parties, plus the need for appropriate weapon skills for underwater, and decent swim skills...  Not impossible, just tricky and expensive, and without some notion of what the payoff might be, or even if there are enough of the wrecks to salvage, potentially not worth the risk.  The most likely parties to be interested would be the Aldryami themselves no doubt. 

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I would just go with the go-to bad guys, the Lunars, hiring a bunch of locals to do some diving at a wreck they’ve divined.  They’re looking for a living boat seed.  Why?  Who knows, consarned Lunars and their confounded mucking around with other folks’ magic without knowing the consequences.  Buncha idjits.

The elves might have gotten wind of a lunar expedition to find a living boat seed and decide they’re going to retrieve it first.  Since there are apparently no blue elves in one of the biggest inland bodies of water in Genertela (though no Great Lake, not even close), the elves hire a bunch of locals to do the grunt work.

The boat itself is remarkably intact on the lake floor, having been grown not built.  A large tear in the side offers access to the hold, while openings on the deck offer access to the lower front and rear of the boat.  Make a perception roll...

weird question: could darksense act as a kind of sonar underwater?

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In the Elf Sea region, there is another bunch of go-to bad guys: the horse nomads. Who claim that their ancestors walked the very ground now covered by the Elf Sea, some say.

So why not have a crazed Pentan shaman, his bunch of Dothraki braves and earth mother priestesses muck around here, treating everybody not born in a saddle like shit?

 

Darksense could work in dark waters, but might be strongly dampened by the denser other element in between. The Sea Trolls of Choralinthor Bay and beyond have adapted their Darksense to work well in dark waters, but I think that landlubber uz would find the underwater experience of Darksense quite disorienting, much like the likes of you and me need to adapt to how sounds are carried differently under water. (Only we don't use our hearing as the dominant sense for orienting ourselves spatially, and not talking about finding out where gravity or acceleration is pulling us in the middle ear sensors.)

On the other hand, Chalana Arroy healers might want a troll assistant for the ability to darksense into a body. Which may be as frightening an experience as spending time in a magnetic resonance tomography tube... Troll darksense might be able to penetrate down to the bones of a living being with an endoskeleton.

In a totally unrelated game @Bill the barbarian, the question has come up how to mask ourselves to avoid being recognized by trolls. Perfume might be one way, spices another, to give two senses a totally wrong image. Facepaint (kettle black) may be pretty much a waste of time other than conceiling runic tattoos, and I suspect that Darksense interacts with the slight scarring of tattoos better than a troll's eyes will ever pick up differences in brightness. In addition, Darksense may give the user an impression of the bone structure, and certainly a good image of the teeth. Trolls may very well remember people more by their dental idiosyncracies than by facial features in lumpy flesh. How do you disguise that?

Answers to this question and discussion of troll sensory input might warrant a thread away from this one.

Edited by Joerg
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  • 2 weeks later...

My local game store finally got in the Glorantha Bestiary I had ordered way back when and I’ve been looking for some good water beasties.  I do like the Giant Snapping Turtle and the Giant Eels (Monsterstop, what’s that?).  But the entry on Elasmosauri leaves me a bit confused.  Most (but not all) of the other dinosaurs get bad-dragonewt backgrounds, but not the elasmosauri, who seem to be confined to just the Elf Sea.

Which just serves to deepen the mystery of their origin and why they chased the elves out of the Elf Sea.

Having considered the bathymetry of the Elf Sea, My Glorantha is going to go with a relatively shallow lake, no more than 30-40 meters deep out towards the middle.  This would make the various islands (G.M. p. 207 in the PoD) easier to explain, and make shipwrecks on the bottom accessible to diving expeditions.

My Glorantha is also going to have a magic dwarven canoe hidden in a boathouse on the Elf Sea (James Bond-y secret lair kind of thing) that they used to hunt down elf boats mucking around with the World Machine.  (From the rumours table in G.M., #50)  Given that it will be made of pumice, and given the nature of pumice, I do have to wonder if the reason it floats is because of the thousands if not millions of tiny air spirits trapped in the stone. What a horrific thought.  Myth can be cruel sometimes...

And did I read correctly the rumour that there is an update of Griffin Mountain being prepped for RQG?  The only thing that would make me happier right now would be a Book of Doom PoD PDQ.

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4 hours ago, GMKen said:

The only thing that would make me happier right now would be a Book of Doom PoD PDQ.

It has to make Electrum Seller to be considered for POD, so the more people who buy the PDF the faster it will be available as POD.

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And it’s already at Copper.  Congrats!

Got my PoD copy of Griffin Mountain and I must say I like the updates.  They do help to flesh out what is already the best fantasy RPG sandbox supplement ever (IMHO).  Some of the stuff from Griffin Island threw me for a minute (people of Nidik wha?), and what is it with the cellars of inns? (q.v. Highwall Inn)

Coupled with other goodies like the Glorantha Bestiary and I’m getting all kinds of new scenario ideas.  For example, I never knew that Tusk Riders ranged far north of the Elf Sea, but there it is on p. 15.  So now I’ve got a new bad guy to use.  Probably came through the Wyrm’s High Pass, so raiding clan hearths in High Wood for sentients to use in their unsavory cultural practices (slaves, sacrifices & savories).  Hmm, never noticed that big giant treeless hill in the middle of High Wood.  Why treeless?  I’m in Texas, so maybe something like Enchanted Rock down near Fredericksburg.  Or maybe it’s the skull of an original giant.  Also didn’t know that High Wood is a Brown Elf enclave (G.B. p. 12).  Which is weird given that it is mostly coniferous, something more typically associated with Green Elves, which are distributed to the west and north.

Whilst the adventurers are visiting Dykene, a runner from Summerford rushes into the megaron, exhausted and out of breath.  (They did just run a marathon)  The Old Tree clan hearth was raided by Tusk Riders, and many Balazarings were taken captive.  They need help!  The king swiftly dispatches some flying scouts to recon the area, and Sylvanthi Brighteyes starts rounding up a posse (including the adventurers) to try to intercept them before they get to Wyrm’s High Pass and escape to the south.  The race is on!

 

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2 hours ago, GMKen said:

nd it’s already at Copper.  Congrats!

Thanks!

At some point, I might write up our Balazar Campaign for the Jonstown Compendium. It had a lot of faffing about in the Elf Sea and restoring the Elder Council, proving that Balazar worshipped Yelm and finding Balazar's Crown. 

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