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HELP! Other RQG milieux?


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OK warning: Long post.

If there's one good thing about the COVID lockdown [and God knows we could all use some 'good things' right about now], it's been that I've had time to get my gaming thing a bit more together than in previous years. One thing that I'd been meaning to do for years and finally got around to is teaching my grand-nieces and nephew the mind worm that is tabletop RPGs. Naturally, I've avoided d20 systems and am teaching them RuneQuest.

But let's be honest here... Glorantha is a pretty big milieu to drop on 'tween' and early teenaged first-time gamers. The only exposure they've had is some computer/console games and a few movie franchises. So now Uncle Carl and Aunt E are taking upon ourselves to introduce them to the wonderful world[s] of fantasy gaming. But I needed a more generic novice-friendly milieu to get them started in. So naturally, I fell back into movies.

BUT WAIT! It's not the two franchises you think! Instead of LotR or Thrones, they were interested in Percy Jackson and the Olympians! Yeah, that kinda threw me at first too.

So what I did was watch the first PJO movie, and the Clash of the Titans remakes to give me some inspiration and came up with an 'Atlantis of my very own' setting and a starting shipwreck adventure to give them the idea of the basic rules.

So I have some questions for the Elder Brain Trust.

What I've got at the table is a niece in her 30's, her daughter [grand-niece] in her early teens, another grand-niece in her 'tweens', my experienced gamer wife. So yes, it's a table full of girls. Their characters are shipwrecked 'Atalans' [Atlanteans before the downfall] who must work together to retrieve as much equipment as they can from the hopeless wreck of their ship, and then find out where they are and how to get home.

What I've done so far is this:

- given them a copy of the RQG Quick Start adventure to familiarize them with the rules;

- generated starter characters for them... they're just average every people [no super stats or magic powers] but of different professions and training;

- given illustrations from my Osprey collection to give them visual cues as to what to expect [Atalans are fully Iron Age Greeks, the rest of the world is pre-Bronze Dark Age Mycenae]

- introduced them to the magic systems;

- run a couple of games where I familiarized them with what happens in a tabletop game and we've done some challenging skill checks;

- warned them that the next session would include combat.

So my questions for you all are these:

a] Are there any non-Glorantha milieux out there that use the RQG rules as yet? [With the Runes affinities, Passions, etc.]

b] Does anyone have any suggestions for RQ cults based on the Greek mythos? I've seen Warlords of Alexander, but I'm looking for additional materials

c] Can anyone suggest anything else I might do with a table full of young women to keep their interest?

 

Thanks for you time everyone

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10 hours ago, svensson said:

a] Are there any non-Glorantha milieux out there that use the RQG rules as yet? [With the Runes affinities, Passions, etc.]

 

The closest that I know of would be Mythras (RQ 6) and the continent of Meeros or perhaps Mythic Rome...currently. I have heard rumours of a mythic Iceland. Both of the last two choices are solidly in the iron age. Not sure about Meeros. Also, while Mythras/RQ 6 is BRP based it does do passions and runes differently. The Mythras area will have more info I would think and better answers as to whether these might work for you. 

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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On 4/7/2021 at 2:21 AM, svensson said:

BUT WAIT! It's not the two franchises you think! Instead of LotR or Thrones, they were interested in Percy Jackson and the Olympians! Yeah, that kinda threw me at first too.

QuestWorlds would be perfect for that.

On 4/7/2021 at 2:21 AM, svensson said:

What I've got at the table is a niece in her 30's, her daughter [grand-niece] in her early teens, another grand-niece in her 'tweens', my experienced gamer wife. So yes, it's a table full of girls. Their characters are shipwrecked 'Atalans' [Atlanteans before the downfall] who must work together to retrieve as much equipment as they can from the hopeless wreck of their ship, and then find out where they are and how to get home.

Use Runes and Passions a lot. 

On 4/7/2021 at 2:21 AM, svensson said:

a] Are there any non-Glorantha milieux out there that use the RQG rules as yet? [With the Runes affinities, Passions, etc.]

Any Heroic age real world settings would work.

Mythic Greece is coming out soon for Mythras, would be a perfect fit.

The Dark Ages, Vikings, Celtic Invasions, Germanic Migration Period, all would be great for RQG.

On 4/7/2021 at 2:21 AM, svensson said:

b] Does anyone have any suggestions for RQ cults based on the Greek mythos? I've seen Warlords of Alexander, but I'm looking for additional materials

Personally, I would use the RQ3 Archetypes for cults, so Ares is a War God, Poseidon is a Sea God, Zeus is a Ruler/Storm God, Hera is a Household/Ruler Goddess, Aphrodite is a Love Goddess, Athena is a Knowledge/warrior/City Goddess and so on. Bear in mind that none of those deities fit the archetypes completely.

On 4/7/2021 at 2:21 AM, svensson said:

c] Can anyone suggest anything else I might do with a table full of young women to keep their interest?

What do they like doing? What interests them? Use that in the games.

Relationships might be more important, for example, so concentrate on those.

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Not aware of RQG being used in other milieu...but obviously most BRP/d100 style products can be culled and engineered without too much work for monsters and animals from earth history and mythology. You may well have a stack of readily usable material on your shelves already. otherwise a PDF copy of Basic creatures from DTRPG is available for about $5. Lots of earth creatures and monsters there, many drawn from Greek myth in the first place. A quick hunt through the bestiaries available in the download section here would probably yield good results as well.

Edited by Agentorange
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RQG runes are substantively and specifically Gloranthan in tone & flavor.

Atlantis being made-up, you can of course decide they use the exact same Runes...

But I think the common wisdom is, RQG is so deeply-entwined with Glorantha that it makes more sense to pick another BRP-variant (Magic World, OpenQuest, CoC7, Mythras, RD100, etc) as your core chassis for a non-Glorantha game.

YMMV.
YGWV.

And remember -- if you're all having fun, you're doing it right!!!

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I am not well versed in Percy Jackson at all but understanding from my daughter that mixes Greek mythology with teen drama, I ask why use RQG as a base? CoC 7e has easier, more free flowing rules and modern occupations and equipment.  BRP or Mythras have loads of info to help mix genres.  You could use RQ3/BRP or Mythras to mix cults with modern occupations (assuming you are going for modern era). Another ideas would be to use Mythic Iceland cults, magic and allegiances (mapping to Greek gods still required) with BRP modern occupations.

Having said that, using RQG only I think I would use the gods/cults from the core book and map them to Greek gods. It would not be perfect but it would be a good start. 

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First off, experienced gamer wife, Aunt E, waves at the assembled grognardia 😁

Thanks for all your thoughts and suggestions. Let me respond to the thoughts and ideas that strike me as most useful...

- I used RQG for several reasons. It's the new edition, currently being published and supported. It's obviously a high quality effort with excellent artwork in full color. Lastly, if the girls get curious enough to do some reading into it, they'll find a lot of women heroes playing prominent roles in the setting. Any one of those reasons will do, but they also add up to a good intro to the hobby even if it means a little more work for me.

- I've seen TDM's Mythic Rome, and it looks alright, but I hadn't heard of Mythic Greece and will be on the lookout for it.

- I like the idea of using the cult archetypes from RQ3. Hadn't thought of that one, and I should have.

- I'd like to include the Runes as an underlying basis for the magical universe, although I'll be substituting another symbol for Chaos. As I have it envisioned, Chaos is represented by the rebellious titans who wish to return the world to a chaotic state where each titan has his own little kingdom instead of the one Gaia ruled over [however imperfectly] by Zeus. However, Chaos is not 'evil' in and of itself. Humanity would not be destroyed in a titan-ruled universe, just more enslaved to more capricious and varied personalities.

Any other thoughts or ideas you gents have is certainly welcome, and thanks again for those you've shared thus far.

 

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Shores of Korantia for Mythras might have some ideas for you. I really liked it, but I'm a Greece geek and for me it riffed in fun ways on classical Athens with its setup of city-states, etc. I'm not sure how approachable it would be for your table since it's more HISTORICAL fantasy than historical FANTASY. More Thucydides, less Homer.

RQG with an Atlantean/Mycenaean veneer sounds fun, to me. I think you'll really want to make sure you've got a copy of The Red Book of Magic. My suggestion is basically assign a few Runes to different Greek Gods, and use those Runes to draw together a thematic mix of skills, spirit magic, and Rune magic spells. For example, Water, Disorder for Poseidon, and spells like Seastrength, summoning elementals, etc. You'll probably have to make up some spells (or let your players do it, then tweak them) too.

Depending on how high-magic/low-magic you want, you've got a lot of options. If they like Percy Jackson, do they want to play demi-gods? Maybe a way to handle it is that most folks don't have magic (or have spirit magic), but those descended from the gods can train their "demi-god powers" (AKA, build up Rune Points, or maybe something blending in the shaman fetch rules?) to invoke their parent's abilities, identified with the Runes.

I like your idea with Chaos and the titans. One way to handle it could be just redefining "Chaos" and continuing to use the symbol and name. Another idea could be associating the titans with Disorder. Either way, I think a Disorder/Stasis or a Chaos/Order dichotomy would work well to express the Greek ideals of "civilized life" versus "barbaric life" in a dramatic way.

As I'm reflecting, another book which may be interesting for you is Mythic Odysseys of Theros for D&D 5E. It's based on a Magic: the Gathering setting. While the rules probably won't be very helpful for you because you're playing RQG, it presents another take on fantasy Greece. Overall, I thought it was pretty interesting and liked how it riffs using not-Spartans, not-Athenians, and it's approach to the nature of gods within the setting.

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2 hours ago, Crel said:

Shores of Korantia for Mythras might have some ideas for you. I really liked it, but I'm a Greece geek and for me it riffed in fun ways on classical Athens with its setup of city-states, etc. I'm not sure how approachable it would be for your table since it's more HISTORICAL fantasy than historical FANTASY. More Thucydides, less Homer.

Well, I'm definitely going for more of a mythical Homeric vibe here. One probably-helpful NPC the PCs will meet is a grumpy old centaur named Khauros. 😁

2 hours ago, Crel said:

RQG with an Atlantean/Mycenaean veneer sounds fun, to me. I think you'll really want to make sure you've got a copy of The Red Book of Magic. My suggestion is basically assign a few Runes to different Greek Gods, and use those Runes to draw together a thematic mix of skills, spirit magic, and Rune magic spells. For example, Water, Disorder for Poseidon, and spells like Seastrength, summoning elementals, etc. You'll probably have to make up some spells (or let your players do it, then tweak them) too.

I've already got the RBoM and have designed a special spell for the Temple Initiate PC... 'Sharkskin', which not only provides a good number of AP, but also damages anyone who hits her with a natural weapon.

 

2 hours ago, Crel said:

Depending on how high-magic/low-magic you want, you've got a lot of options. If they like Percy Jackson, do they want to play demi-gods? Maybe a way to handle it is that most folks don't have magic (or have spirit magic), but those descended from the gods can train their "demi-god powers" (AKA, build up Rune Points, or maybe something blending in the shaman fetch rules?) to invoke their parent's abilities, identified with the Runes.

I considered the demi-god idea and decided against it. I didn't want the game to devolve into a Gods War By Proxy as cultists of Athena have it out with Ares or whatever. Making magic a bit more common than that also humanizes the gods to a large degree. Sure, you've got Zeus with his thunderbolts, but the Rain spell is far more useful to the vast majority of the people.

 

2 hours ago, Crel said:

I like your idea with Chaos and the titans. One way to handle it could be just redefining "Chaos" and continuing to use the symbol and name. Another idea could be associating the titans with Disorder. Either way, I think a Disorder/Stasis or a Chaos/Order dichotomy would work well to express the Greek ideals of "civilized life" versus "barbaric life" in a dramatic way.

Thanks! I admit that I'm still mulling over and modifying things but I thought that there needed to be a clear divide between civilized peoples and bone-through-the-nose barbarians, and the Runes give me a clear avenue to display that.

Thanks for the input!

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On 4/11/2021 at 12:57 AM, soltakss said:

But, you could use the same principles by assigning magical powers to the Germanic/Nordic Runes, to Ogham or to letters of alphabets.

I admit my grasp of Ogham or Futhark symbolism -- or seidr, or any Celtic-rune magic traditions -- is minimal (yes, I could Google for it (but I don't like to base my own position on nothing more than what some internet-rando has posted)).   In particular:  I don't know that they do (or don't) have meanings that could be used in a similar fashion to how RQG implements Glorantha's runes (though I believe Futhark is a bit more symbolic, Ogham a bit more alphabetic).

I presume Mythic Iceland 2e, when released, will have this sort of material ready made (for Futhark if not Ogham).

===

None of which (Celtic/Nordic runestuff) is terribly helpful to the OP's Greco/Atlantean castaways.  I'm unaware of ANY Mediterranean runic symbols (afaik, Runes found in the Med & middle-east came via inland waterways from Scandinavia).

On the one hand, this is good news for the OP -- he's free from the shackles of historicity and "accuracy."  On the other hand, it sucks that he's gonna have to do all the gruntwork of creating it from scratch.

On the gripping hand, he might find something like John Dee's "Enochian" script to be just perfect (or maybe not; I know little beyond that it exists).
 

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You get runic meanings of alphabetic symbols when you apply numerology, using the letters as number symbols.

It doesn't really help that the Greek letter names were inherited from Phoenician rather than using native letter names (such as "C is for cat").

But then, Linear B is not an alphabetic script for Greek, but a syllabary. Unless your players are pretty fluent in the Greek alphabet, you don't lose that much familiarity, and those syllables may be closer to existing words that may have runic meanings.

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4 hours ago, g33k said:

I admit my grasp of Ogham or Futhark symbolism -- or seidr, or any Celtic-rune magic traditions -- is minimal (yes, I could Google for it (but I don't like to base my own position on nothing more than what some internet-rando has posted)).   In particular:  I don't know that they do (or don't) have meanings that could be used in a similar fashion to how RQG implements Glorantha's runes (though I believe Futhark is a bit more symbolic, Ogham a bit more alphabetic).

So I reenacted in the SCA [Dark Ages and medieval reenactment] for many [all too many] years.

There are two basic problems with researching FUTHARK or old Germanic runes: the War Two Nazi 'Aryanism' nonsense [which has some base in archeological fact, but is hugely politicized] and modern Heathenism /Paganism /Ashatrur worship [who tend to water down and apply 'politically correct' meanings to make the traditions more palatable]. I have some born-again Pagans in my personal extended tribe [Wiccan, Ashatru, and an odd Welsh-ish thing I don't understand] and this is a fault I find in some their research. I'm a lifelong military historian, so when I go on a history research jag, I'm pretty picky about sources and editorial license.

Because of these issues, I've decided to go with the RQ runes as politically and socially neutral. I have a table full of new gamers and, more importantly, new *female* gamers and I don't want to start up any social wars with misplaced references. Besides, the RQ runes are simple and intuitive in their symbology... once you see it, you almost instinctively know what it means.

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3 minutes ago, Joerg said:

You get runic meanings of alphabetic symbols when you apply numerology, using the letters as number symbols.

It doesn't really help that the Greek letter names were inherited from Phoenician rather than using native letter names (such as "C is for cat").

But then, Linear B is not an alphabetic script for Greek, but a syllabary. Unless your players are pretty fluent in the Greek alphabet, you don't lose that much familiarity, and those syllables may be closer to existing words that may have runic meanings.

VERY true. It's like when you talk to Biblical literalists and ask them how their Attic Greek, Vulgate Latin, and Common Aramaic are 😁

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5 hours ago, soltakss said:

The OP asked for examples of other places/times that could work using RQG.

 

I did indeed.

But I entertained the Norse /Druidic discussion because I've given the girls an option of changing the milieu if they want. That's a fact I hadn't shared.

I basically gave them 4 choices:

- Keep on with the Atalan [Atlantis] game, for which I will develop a bigger milieu for them to play in;

- Going with a historical period that might interest them -- I have plenty of Viking Age and Medieval Japan material, for example. But this would be a lower-magic game;

- Doing something more 'mainstream fantasy', where murder hobos are accepted, there's such a thing as an 'adventurer's guild', and basically making the game a bit more 'DnD-ish'... but I warned them that RQ rules DnD is much deadlier -- my great quote is 'RQ combat is vicious. You don't enter a battle without full preparation and intent. There is no such thing as a 'warm up fight' in RuneQuest and you NEVER just wade into an orc lair for the experience points.";

- And lastly, bringing them into Glorantha wholesale.

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4 hours ago, svensson said:

Norse

I have very fond memories of running an RQiii Viking campaign.

The RQ rules translate very naturally and with very little effort for the Vikings (especially if you’ve access to the RQiii Viking supplement.  I vaguely remember not using the scenarios from it though, but the rest was good).  And RQinG rules would be even more amazing.

For me it lacks the Bronze age feel of RQ (on the otherhand, Beowulf feels right, though).  But then it was a good campaign, and people had fun, which is all that matters.

If you’re after something less serious, how about adding dragons and turning it into a Cressida Cowell, “How to Train Your Dragon” campaign?  Might amuse the younger members.  (And in case the intonation with which I'm typing doesn't come across the internet, that's very much not a serious suggestion)
 

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On 4/7/2021 at 11:21 AM, svensson said:

What I've done so far is this:

- given them a copy of the RQG Quick Start adventure to familiarize them with the rules;

- generated starter characters for them... they're just average every people [no super stats or magic powers] but of different professions and training;

- given illustrations from my Osprey collection to give them visual cues as to what to expect [Atalans are fully Iron Age Greeks, the rest of the world is pre-Bronze Dark Age Mycenae]

- introduced them to the magic systems;

- run a couple of games where I familiarized them with what happens in a tabletop game and we've done some challenging skill checks;

- warned them that the next session would include combat.

So my questions for you all are these:

a] Are there any non-Glorantha milieux out there that use the RQG rules as yet? [With the Runes affinities, Passions, etc.]

b] Does anyone have any suggestions for RQ cults based on the Greek mythos? I've seen Warlords of Alexander, but I'm looking for additional materials

c] Can anyone suggest anything else I might do with a table full of young women to keep their interest?

Thanks for you time everyone

Okay.  Firstly, rules-wise it sounds you should consider taking a look at Mythras, as it has a non-standard approach to cults that might be a better fit for Hellenistic religions.  Mythras also has its own game world.

Secondly, there is an Atlantis RPG that takes a somewhat "Theosophical" approach to the matter.  I think it is called Atlantis: The Second Age.  It might be good for source material and ideas.

BTW, historically speaking, there were no "pre-bronze age Mycenean Greeks".  The Myceneans simply weren't in Greece until the late bronze age when they came as migrants.  The locals were the Palask, the Cretans, and some other cultures now entirely lost to history, but who may have been related to the Etruscans, but the period is pre-Herodotus and not well recorded.  As RQ is bronze-age, best to stick with bronze age I suggest; things are still plenty primitive, and it will be very common for people to use flint weapons and arrowheads, for example.

Next, if you haven't read anything my Mary Renault, she does some historical novels set around the period that deal well with Greece, but "The King Must Die" and "The Bull from the Sea" are stories about Theseus and pretty much bronze age, and most women I know who have read these stories love them.

RQ3 did include a system of sorts for a syncretic approach to deities that could be cross-applied to the Greek Pantheon with some heavy modification.

As to the setting of Heroic Era Greece, well, read up on your mythology is my only suggestion.  It is replete with Gods, heroes and monsters.  RQG has plenty of Rune Spells that can be transferred to Greek Gods with a similar "portfolio" the the equivalent Gloranthan God.

As far as keeping a table of young women interested in an RPG, I would suggest trying to find out what they read and watch for fun, and getting a sense of your audience that way.  You should also feel free to retro-fit existing Glorantha scenarios into ancient Greece.  For example, the Praxians become Centaurs, Amazons and Scythians, your Orlanthi Tribe becomes a local Greek City state, the troll adversaries are modded to become bandits or political rivals, etc.  

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3 hours ago, Stephen L said:

You do that often, then?

I've had friends who were in evangelical churches and my dad married a Pentecostal minister, so yeah, the subject has come up 😁

I don't mean to imply that I go around looking for conflict in religion. I absolutely don't. To me, someone's path to God is a deeply personal thing and isn't a subject for casual conversation. I'm well aware of the political origins of the Bible, as well as the, um, 'editing process' of which stories were included and which weren't. So when someone gets all holier than thou, I have a couple of answers for them.

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1 hour ago, svensson said:

I've had friends who were in evangelical churches and my dad married a Pentecostal minister, so yeah, the subject has come up 😁

I don't mean to imply that I go around looking for conflict in religion. I absolutely don't. To me, someone's path to God is a deeply personal thing and isn't a subject for casual conversation. I'm well aware of the political origins of the Bible, as well as the, um, 'editing process' of which stories were included and which weren't. So when someone gets all holier than thou, I have a couple of answers for them.

Yay!  As a Methodist minister I couldn't agree more!

 

3 hours ago, Darius West said:

BTW, historically speaking, there were no "pre-bronze age Mycenean Greeks".  The Myceneans simply weren't in Greece until the late bronze age when they came as migrants.  The locals were the Palask, the Cretans, and some other cultures now entirely lost to history, but who may have been related to the Etruscans, but the period is pre-Herodotus and not well recorded. 

Except, unfortunately, that too is entirely unproven since, as you say, it is not well recorded.  Your can't regard Herodotus as a reliable historian either, truly you can't.🤣  

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26 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:
3 hours ago, Darius West said:

BTW, historically speaking, there were no "pre-bronze age Mycenean Greeks".  The Myceneans simply weren't in Greece until the late bronze age when they came as migrants.  The locals were the Palask, the Cretans, and some other cultures now entirely lost to history, but who may have been related to the Etruscans, but the period is pre-Herodotus and not well recorded. 

Except, unfortunately, that too is entirely unproven since, as you say, it is not well recorded.  Your can't regard Herodotus as a reliable historian either, truly you can't.

No, no you can't 🤣

More than anything else here, I was looking for good illustrations that I could show the girls instead of regaling them with the Wall of GM Text [tm] and watching their eyes glaze over. With a few well-sorted Google image searches and my go-to Osprey collection, I'm able to give them a sense of the material culture without having to use the phrase 'material culture' to a 'tween-aged' kid.

Beyond that, my audience is female. On the one side I want to avoid the 'chainmail bikini' archetype but I also want to avoid the whole 'Amazons cut their left breast off' thing too. The happy middle ground is a certain 'Assassin's Creed: Odyssey' vibe, where society is vibrant and alive but without the whole bimbo sugar-cookie thing or being so historical that I take the fun out of it for them.

I'm looking for more this [photo of Minoan girl from the BBC] and less this [cosplayer Jacqueline Goehner, Red Sonya 'costume']

Minoan Girl BBC.jpg

J Goehner Red Sonja.jpg

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