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Consequences for Killing Major Named NPCs


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seriously, @Darius West, you have valid concerns, and the strict-canon, strictly simulationist style of play has its adherents for a reason: it's gritty. It requires careful thought and planning from the players. It makes victories seem that much harder earned. The bulk of worldbuilding has been done for you, leaving you free to just come up with a neat story using the building blocks given to you. In the words of Kurt Cobain, it's fun to lose and to pretend. 

This ain't that kind of campaign. Your kind of campaign isn't bad. Your Glorantha isn't bad. It's just not ours.

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This is the advice we give in the forthcoming RQ Campaign book: CHANGING HISTORY We encourage you to include well-known Gloranthan characters and events in your campaign. Their presence adds

seriously, @Darius West, you have valid concerns, and the strict-canon, strictly simulationist style of play has its adherents for a reason: it's gritty. It requires careful thought and planning from

Um.  I just. Um. The Trickster player, who has never  heard of Glorantha before this game, is nonbinary (like I am), their character is genderfluid (like me and the player both are), and he (play

Can I say @ZedAlpha I love how you've embraced the wild and creative side of Glorantha so whole heartedly, it's really inspiring! It's easy to get bullied out of having a fun experience by "you're playing your elfgames wrong!" crowd and it's super cool how you haven't let that happen :) Your campaign sounds super awesome!

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my first experience with Glorantha was watching my mom play King of Dragon Pass and seeing that cartoon ducks could be your neighbors, then immediately after that, they got to hatch baby triceratopses, then go on a mystical quest to get a herd of cows from a god. 
 

like my fantasy to be brightly colored, simultaneously grim and hopeless and bright and cheerful, bloody, wholesome, sexy, and just plain weird. It's why this setting has stuck with me so much. 

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Well, the simple answer is that Harrek will either bring himself back from the dead, or his crewmates will do so via a healer.

If a Sword of Humakt is willing to spend two permanent POW, this is trivial to stop with Stop Resurrection.  Blame the authors who made Humakt the grossest overpowered cult ever.

I agree with you that PCs killing Harrek is a big big stretch, but it's their game.  Let people dream of changing Glorantha.

In our game, I'm vaguely hoping that my PC will marry Argrath (should that make any sense at all and the die rolls work out), have a son, leave him when he marries the Feathered Horse Queen, then kill FHQ later.  Of course, the character is named Lagertha.  (Vikings TV show reference)

Edited by Rodney Dangerduck
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On 2/1/2021 at 2:32 PM, Jeff said:

If you decide you want to permanently kill off one of the five main figures in the setting, you need to decide what that means. And at that point, you are off the grid. Your Glorantha Will Vary to the point where the published material will provide you very little support or guidance.

I think this is a bit of a overstatement... So far, almost none of the published scenarios have had any of these superheroes present, or them having anything really to do with RQG or RQ 2ed and 3ed scenarios in general. So, it is very possible that you can play almost all RQG scenarios as they are, still. It don´t matter if Harrek is alive or dead. That may change in the future, but that has been the way so far.

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6 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

If a Sword of Humakt is willing to spend two permanent POW, this is trivial to stop with Stop Resurrection.  Blame the authors who made Humakt the grossest overpowered cult ever.

I agree with you that PCs killing Harrek is a big big stretch, but it's their game.  Let people dream of changing Glorantha.

In our game, I'm vaguely hoping that my PC will marry Argrath (should that make any sense at all and the die rolls work out), have a son, leave him when he marries the Feathered Horse Queen, then kill FHQ later.  Of course, the character is named Lagertha.  (Vikings TV show reference)

I have no problem with characters interacting the the celebs of the Hero Wars, as that should happen, but killing Harrek seems a bit ridiculous.  Also Stop Resurrection will not stop divine intervention, so Harrek has no problems as basically the polar bear god is his slave and he has a functionally infinite POW to make the divine intervention roll with.

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2 hours ago, Caras said:

I think this is a bit of a overstatement... So far, almost none of the published scenarios have had any of these superheroes present, or them having anything really to do with RQG or RQ 2ed and 3ed scenarios in general. So, it is very possible that you can play almost all RQG scenarios as they are, still. It don´t matter if Harrek is alive or dead. That may change in the future, but that has been the way so far.

Of course but how many scenario are designed for pc able to kill Harreck (and who killed him) ?

I m not only talking about stats but also behaviours.

How many lunars / sartarites / praxians / tusk riders / maybe broos will try to challenge the pc ?

their reputation should be at least 50%, they will be recognized every where in dragon pass.

except if you decide that any "boss" in a scenario has the same stats, powers, ... than Harreck. Then there could be a challenge for the table

 

But in this case, who is Harreck, if he has 10000 people able to challenge him ?

 

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, ZedAlpha said:

once again, we're not using Runequest rules, but HeroQuest/Questworlds. 

the rules system is not the point (in all system, Harreck is Harreck ) :)

your play is just a big divergence from the main stream (and that is not a problem, be sure of that)

your players just killed the most feared person in the mundane world. Now they would probably be feared by everyone, and some will hate them for that.

 

as a GM you have to deal with that :

The world :

- will you consider that killing the god will change the world future ? -> then your "river" becomes a new stream, far from any official / common material

- will you consider that killing the god will not change the world future ? -> then find an harreck heir (maybe himself back from the deads)

- will you consider that the world is not really important, don't care the background, that's just a fun game

 

The PC :

- will you consider than noone will know they kill the god ? you can continue to use common scenario (but if their is no logical issue with the world you created) but your issue is then what are the challenge for people who succeeded to kill the god ?

- will you consider that a lot of people know what the pc did ? then you have to manage that no patrol, no clan chieftain, maybe one ore two heroes will try something against your players ?

- will you consider that the npc don't need to be logical, that's just a fun game

- will you consider that the npc can be challenging, adding enough power  to be, even if the only conclusion is harreck was not so powerfull, that's just a fun game.

 

there is no good or bad option. but some options are just far from the mainstream, and you may have to deal with it.

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Got it! thanks. I have considered all of that. So far, the plan is that if the PCs succeed, they'll be hailed as heroes of Esrolia/dire, hateful enemies of the Wolf Pirates, and up-and-coming Heroes. 

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10 hours ago, ZedAlpha said:

I've been playing various RPGs since I was six years old. I might not have as much linear-time experience as some of y'all, but I've got as much subjective experience, maybe more than some of you. 

Sorry, that was not aimed at you, apologies if that was not clear.

It was aimed at people telling us how to run our games.

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6 hours ago, Caras said:

So far, almost none of the published scenarios have had any of these superheroes present, or them having anything really to do with RQG or RQ 2ed and 3ed scenarios in general.

This boils down to an issue of Sandbox vs Script, doesn't it?  Which I think is at the heart of the OP and a number of threads that've cropped up from time to time.

!i!

Edited by Ian Absentia
Proportion
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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

Sorry, that was not aimed at you, apologies if that was not clear.

It was aimed at people telling us how to run our games.

No offense intended by me or taken by me, I was just establishing my own credentials for what they’re worth.

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57 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

This boils down to an issue of Sandbox vs Script, doesn't it?  Which I think is at the heart of the OP and a number of threads that've cropped up from time to time.

!i!

Originally it was just asking for ideas on what people think the world might look like if Harrek the Berserk died at least semi permanently shortly after sacking the City of Wonders (and I’d love to get your opinion), but that has come up time and time again, yeah.

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2 hours ago, ZedAlpha said:

Originally it was just asking for ideas on what people think the world might look like if Harrek the Berserk died at least semi permanently shortly after sacking the City of Wonders (and I’d love to get your opinion)...

Sure.  Different gaming groups are after different experiences.  As GM, most of my experience with players has been with the "Herd of Cats" phenomenon, so I generally favor the Sandbox model, regardless of the game.  [Then again, I'm the common denominator in all of these experiences, so maybe the responsibility is squarely on me as GM.]  NPCs who're as monolithic as the geography itself tend to impede play more than enhance it.  I find advice like "you're on your own" and "man up" less than helpful, because of course the moment play begins we're all on our own and deviating from script.  We all acknowledge this, yet we continue to either fret over it or tut-tut one another.  It's understandable, but I attribute it to a side-effect of Script.

So what happens when Harrek is displaced?  The big names in Glorantha are essentially mythical in proportion.  In fact, they are the Gloranthan myth unfolding.  As other have suggested, perhaps something akin to Tim Powers' Last Call takes place and your characters get sucked into the mythic role that they've displaced.  @soltakss has related some great stories about his group shouldering Argrath aside and making the myth themselves.  If you and your group are willing to be the movers and shakers in a roleplaying world, then I think it's clear that you're willing to put in that work to make it happen.

!i!

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Here's another curveball to toss: a Hero of Harrek's caliber can walk out of the Underworld even without his best frenemy, the White Bear. If he's staying dead, it means he's at peace. Why is the incarnation of Death, of separation and solitude, finally at peace? Somebody'd better find out!

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ooh. So what if: 

  • The players heroquest to help the White Bear God retain its skin. Harrek gets rebuffed, and is merely a very powerful mortal with no god living in his skin. Eventually, he dies. 
  • He stays dead this time. Gunda the Guilty and his other worshippers cannot resurrect him. 
  • They eventually come to the PCs, on the off chance that the only people to successfully keep the Berserk from his goals might have something to do with this. 
  • They get browbeaten/begged/bribed into venturing into the Underworld to find Harrek in spectral retirement. The man who can't be beaten has been beaten twice, and has had all the fought just knocked out of him. Do they just let him stay there? Do they try to make him get back into the world, knowing full well that he'll try to murder them all however possible? Do they do something else even more unpredictable than offing him in the first place?
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Well, my players are blowing up my discord about how much they want to kill Harrek tomorrow. Even the old grognard. I think maybe one or two might survive. I’ll let y’all know how it shakes out.

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Hey, you wanna know what?  Last time I played RQG, I announced to my group that I intended to kill Harrek, too.  And turn the Moon yellow!  They laughed at me and told me I couldn't.  I didn't stay with that game much longer.

Paint a big enough target on yourself and you can't complain when people come gunning for you.  Of course, that works both ways, doesn't it?  More power to your players.

!i!

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