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Is there a limit to the PC's involvement in the Hero Wars? (Was 'high level opponents')


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Hi,

I'm starting a new thread but I am responding to another recent thread. The main topic of that thread was answered and seems to have to come to a conclusion for the OP @EpicureanDM, but there were side conversations and ancillary comments that are important to me. I want to step aside from talking about specific Jonstown Compendium products and talk about the expectations I should have from Runequest Glorantha. If you want to the original conversation for context it is
Using the rules of the game, how are PCs expected to defeat "high-level" opponents? And I'm reluctantly invoking @Jeff because I'd really value and appreciate the input from someone who can speak with authority on the matter. 


The part of that forum thread that bothered me was this tension concerning whether PCs in this new edition of Runequest can ever expect to interact with Heroes. Treat that sentence as like the main point of this post. I'm choosing my words carefully here so I ask respondents to stick with me. I wrote "ever expect" because I understand that the Core book doesn't really address Heroic conflict, but with the GM's book and Heroquesting rules on the horizon I wasn't thinking that such conflict would NEVER be possible. Just not today. And I am cool with that, for the present, but...
The other word I chose carefully was "interact."  It's an intentionally neutral word, but I want you to know what I mean. I mean affect situations and adventures with Heroes by any means, if that be through Heroquesting Secrets, 'mythology' strategy and diplomacy or.. though very dangerous combat. I'm driven to use such a wishy-washy word like 'interact' because the conversation in the other thread depicted this in some judgmental terms. I just don't want to be on the receiving end of a mischaracterization as power-munchkin, because that's not who I am and not the sort of play I encourage.  Yet this post is important and I wanted to reply to it. The boldface emphasis is mine. I quoted the whole post to try to avoid cherry picking

 @Nick Brooke, April 2nd

Quote

 

If your group is playing SuperRuneQuest variants like Simon’s, with loads of “heroquest rewards” to escalate adventurers’ capabilities, you can certainly power up enough to go toe-to-toe with those grossly-statted monsters, defeat Harrek, and so on. The problem is, you’re not really playing RuneQuest the way the rest of us do at that point, and anything Chaosium brings out won’t easily work in your games. That’s kinda why many of us have moved past that model. But if you and your GM like “levelling up,” there’s nothing wrong with that, and you can treat those gross stats as a challenge, rather than a warning.

Dorastor: Land of Doom for RQ3 had similarly gross monster statblocks: Sandy (Call of Cthulhu) Petersen likes writing them that way. The problem is that there wasn’t a campaign structured to let you toughen up enough to beat them. (There isn’t one in Call of Cthulhu, either, which may explain why he wrote them that way: these are ancient terrors, not monsters to be defeated in attritional melee rounds).

But people play RuneQuest with different expectations. Work out where you’re happiest, and play it that way.

 

@Jeff if there is any question why I tagged you, it's here, specifically the first paragraph. Is Nick accurate when he says this? 


Some context: I have always operated under the belief that someday a Runequest system would exist that allowed players to be significant participants in the Hero Wars. I forget the byline but I vaguely recall RQ3 being something "Bronze Age Adventure at the Dawn of the Hero Wars!" You co-wrote HQG with Robin Laws. The selling point for HQG (for me) was that it scaled so that you could do what you wanted to do with it. I own it but have never played it. I suppose my preference would be to play or run Runequest for my prospective Glorantha games, so I have been biding my time, but that was something I admired about HQG.

@Everyone When I look at the first sentence of my previous paragraph and I see the words "significant participant" and I realize that is a really subjective term. It's hard to wrap my head around what exactly that looks like. When I try, this explanation comes to mind but it doesn't really explain what 'significant participant' means to me... but maybe it will be helpful.

When I think about Orlanth, he is a god. I wouldn't think about giving him a statblock. He can just do magical things because he is a god (I'm deliberately keeping it simple here, so I'm not bringing up a lot of meta-cosmology like the Runes). His strengths, weakness and limits are best defined (IMO) by a non-quantified comparison to Other Gods and Enemies like True Dragons. He's literally the wind or storms. He was born before the Dawn of Time. Heck when Arachne Solara gave birth to Time it sounds like he helped put it into place with the help of a lot of other folks. My point is, I don't think in terms of competing with him directly. Either as a player or running such a game as GM.

But then we get to Harrek. A mountain didn't give birth to him, but rather a woman I assume? He was born in Time. He did kill a bear god but I have always assumed he did that through by doing some heroquesting and at the same time I imagine there was some good ol' melee combat in there too. Fair? After all he skinned the thing? He's called a demigod but there is no formal definition of what that means. Do people sacrifice power to him? Does he grant rune spells? Can I go to the Otherside and walk his path and get some of his bear and/or pirate powers? Jeff could say yes to any of those last three questions and I would be hung out to dry, but I think a reasonable person can see the point I'm making. Harrek spends a lot of time sailing around the world, in Time, and robbing people, on a boat (not flying through the air) until he finds a cause. Because he's not a god.

Stepping outside of being a Glorantha fan, I see Orlanth as a God and Harrek as a high level adventuring NPC. A really powerful high level adventuring NPC, but not a god. Not the literal wind or ALL the STORMS, but a pirate who travels by boat and robs people. I'm sure you guys can argue he shrugs off sunspears from a dozen rune priests or whatever, but again, I qualify it by saying that "he sounds like a really powerful adventuring NPC to me." I'm not trying to be dismissive of Harrek's heroic tale, but I am trying to share a different perspective on the subject material from someone less personally invested. 

 

Nick Brooke wrote on April 2nd

Quote

 

"How did Jack get to be as big and strong as all those Giants he killed?"

"How did Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, get to be more powerful than Smaug, an ancient red dragon?"

If those look like sensible questions to you, you'll probably enjoy SuperRuneQuest.

 

Nick, I quoted you earlier because that previous quote was a reasonable position and I wanted to represent you fairly. I DO want to know Chaosium's position on high level play in regard to what you said, but it was a fair and gracious post. But here? You're just being 'clever' and dismissive and apparently getting validated for it by your peers. You're drawing a direct comparison to an RPG with a folk tale and children's book (enjoyed by all ages and including me) bereft of any context. Professor Tolkien wasn't thinking of an RPG when he wrote the Hobbit for his children, for his family, and I think we all know that. So of course the idea that Bilbo is a dragonslayer is really laughable. But we're not talking about a Middle Earth RPG, we're talking about Glorantha where myth is real. Aren't we? And isn't it?

Greg started writing fiction in the late 60's, right? I don't know how much Dragon Pass fiction he wrote back then (and I think it's moot), by 1975 Harrek and Jar-Eel were counters on a board game (if they're not than you're just going to have to roll with it because I've never seen the game).. People have reverse engineered an RPG onto Middle Earth after Tolkien's death. My point is gamification is part of Glorantha's history however and to a much greater degree of intentionality and it was done at the hand of it's creator. And hey, I am glad that he did.

Nick Brooke wrote, April 2nd

Quote

 

I don't want to put words into your mouth, @EpicureanDM, but are you asking us "How could you defeat these monsters without making it an interesting story or making use of Glorantha's history and mythology in any way?" Because the answer to that, obviously, is "You can't."

There are epic scenarios on the Jonstown Compendium that show you how to bring absurdly powerful creatures into consequential RuneQuest play. Check out Drew's Company of the Dragon, or my own Black Spear. But they aren't about going toe-to-toe with kaiju, or arm-wrestling King Kong into submission, because that'd be silly.

 

I kinda want to be bothered by this remark, but I admit it's harder. I see some good faith here. But I do think all these references to kaiju and King Kong and whatever Super RuneQuest is don't add anything to the discourse. Nick, it feels like you're forcing this to be a binary choice here. That on one hand, one can "defeat these monsters by making it into an interesting story and/or use of Glorantha's history and mythology"... or...what?  That's kind of a loaded question isn't it? I grant that you were replying EpicureanDM's original post about the mechanics of a high level fight with Dorastor monsters, but there's kinda of a sly subtext there. 

I think an interesting story that draws upon Glorantha's history and mythology should be absolutely integral and necessary to defeating or matching wits with Glorantha's powerful entities. Except whatever this unspoken alternative is? (psst I think it's magical and/or physical combat) It doesn't have to be off the table. It should be something that COULD BE part of the equation, but yes... it always needs to be an interesting story that draws upon Glorantha's history and mythology. Is it because you don't think that anything a GM can challenge their players with will ever be enough to measure up to Mr. Stafford's vision of Glorantha? So that no one can ever be as good or bad-ass as his heroes? Because if that is true then it all flies in the face of the spirit of YGMV.

I suppose this will come down to YGMV. Let me just take a shortcut and accept that. I don't care what people think about how I play or how I chose to run the game. What does matter is whether the math of this game is going to break and it becomes tedious and unfun.

@Jeff kindly this again is where I'd really welcome your input. When Nick says "You can't" do stuff in this game like fight Dorastor Monsters or become Heroes, is he correct? Nick also said, "The problem is, you’re not really playing RuneQuest the way the rest of us do at that point, and anything Chaosium brings out won’t easily work in your games." Is this true?

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, sir. I just thought things were going to be different in this edition. We're going to have heroquest rules and Andrew Montgomery is working on them, they're almost finished.. and we have a whole GM's book.... to maybe show us how to take our game to the next level? These guys make it seem like none of that matters and people should be content with being bit players in a grand story reserved for NPCs.

Cards on the table. I was going to order a slipcase of the core books yesterday because after 40 years I finally found a group that will play Runequest with me. I spent all day yesterday reading threads, window shopping the Chaosium store for books, watching about 8 of your YouTube videos. I dug out my Glorantha Sourcebook. Then I read the thread I linked before and I was dismayed and discouraged and obviously a little irritated. I said to myself, "F-- it. Never mind. Glorantha is still too cool for school." I don't say this as a threat or to be petulant. I absolutely think Runequest Glorantha will be a critical and commercial success without me, my opinions, or my money and don't let the door hit me on the ass when I leave, as they say. I'm happy for this renaissance because I do love Glorantha and I hope for it's continued life and success. Rather I say it because I'm 55, I don't have unlimited money, and there are other games and campaigns I'd like to run in this lifetime. It would be a kindness to me to know what to expect from this edition rather than just be disappointed.
 

Plus I want someone to give me some good news. Tell me I can do what I want with this edition. I reckon you're the only one with the knowledge and authority to answer definitively.

Thanks,

PS: Nick Brooke, if I singled you out it was because I respect you and usually enjoy your contributions. I see how hard you work to support this community. I've seen your name for many many years lurking on forums. I didn't reply to some of your colleagues because I didn't see any common ground or any way to avoid just unhelpful comments and arguments. My regrets if it seems like I'm scapegoating you...

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That is an interesting post.

My view is simple. I don't want to be playing a has-been in the Hero Wars, I would much rather be centre stage. So, for me, the idea of playing one of the Heroes makes sense.

Other people think that is just awful and wouldn't enjoy that style of gaming, which is fair enough, whatever suits them is fine for them.

 

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

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48 minutes ago, Wheel Shield said:

Hi,

I'm starting a new thread but I am responding to another recent thread. The main topic of that thread was answered and seems to have to come to a conclusion for the OP @EpicureanDM, but there were side conversations and ancillary comments that are important to me. I want to step aside from talking about specific Jonstown Compendium products and talk about the expectations I should have from Runequest Glorantha. If you want to the original conversation for context it is
Using the rules of the game, how are PCs expected to defeat "high-level" opponents? And I'm reluctantly invoking @Jeff because I'd really value and appreciate the input from someone who can speak with authority on the matter. 


The part of that forum thread that bothered me was this tension concerning whether PCs in this new edition of Runequest can ever expect to interact with Heroes. Treat that sentence as like the main point of this post. I'm choosing my words carefully here so I ask respondents to stick with me. I wrote "ever expect" because I understand that the Core book doesn't really address Heroic conflict, but with the GM's book and Heroquesting rules on the horizon I wasn't thinking that such conflict would NEVER be possible. Just not today. And I am cool with that, for the present, but...
The other word I chose carefully was "interact."  It's an intentionally neutral word, but I want you to know what I mean. I mean affect situations and adventures with Heroes by any means, if that be through Heroquesting Secrets, 'mythology' strategy and diplomacy or.. though very dangerous combat. I'm driven to use such a wishy-washy word like 'interact' because the conversation in the other thread depicted this in some judgmental terms. I just don't want to be on the receiving end of a mischaracterization as power-munchkin, because that's not who I am and not the sort of play I encourage.  Yet this post is important and I wanted to reply to it. The boldface emphasis is mine. I quoted the whole post to try to avoid cherry picking

 @Nick Brooke, April 2nd

@Jeff if there is any question why I tagged you, it's here, specifically the first paragraph. Is Nick accurate when he says this? 


Some context: I have always operated under the belief that someday a Runequest system would exist that allowed players to be significant participants in the Hero Wars. I forget the byline but I vaguely recall RQ3 being something "Bronze Age Adventure at the Dawn of the Hero Wars!" You co-wrote HQG with Robin Laws. The selling point for HQG (for me) was that it scaled so that you could do what you wanted to do with it. I own it but have never played it. I suppose my preference would be to play or run Runequest for my prospective Glorantha games, so I have been biding my time, but that was something I admired about HQG.

@Everyone When I look at the first sentence of my previous paragraph and I see the words "significant participant" and I realize that is a really subjective term. It's hard to wrap my head around what exactly that looks like. When I try, this explanation comes to mind but it doesn't really explain what 'significant participant' means to me... but maybe it will be helpful.

When I think about Orlanth, he is a god. I wouldn't think about giving him a statblock. He can just do magical things because he is a god (I'm deliberately keeping it simple here, so I'm not bringing up a lot of meta-cosmology like the Runes). His strengths, weakness and limits are best defined (IMO) by a non-quantified comparison to Other Gods and Enemies like True Dragons. He's literally the wind or storms. He was born before the Dawn of Time. Heck when Arachne Solara gave birth to Time it sounds like he helped put it into place with the help of a lot of other folks. My point is, I don't think in terms of competing with him directly. Either as a player or running such a game as GM.

But then we get to Harrek. A mountain didn't give birth to him, but rather a woman I assume? He was born in Time. He did kill a bear god but I have always assumed he did that through by doing some heroquesting and at the same time I imagine there was some good ol' melee combat in there too. Fair? After all he skinned the thing? He's called a demigod but there is no formal definition of what that means. Do people sacrifice power to him? Does he grant rune spells? Can I go to the Otherside and walk his path and get some of his bear and/or pirate powers? Jeff could say yes to any of those last three questions and I would be hung out to dry, but I think a reasonable person can see the point I'm making. Harrek spends a lot of time sailing around the world, in Time, and robbing people, on a boat (not flying through the air) until he finds a cause. Because he's not a god.

Stepping outside of being a Glorantha fan, I see Orlanth as a God and Harrek as a high level adventuring NPC. A really powerful high level adventuring NPC, but not a god. Not the literal wind or ALL the STORMS, but a pirate who travels by boat and robs people. I'm sure you guys can argue he shrugs off sunspears from a dozen rune priests or whatever, but again, I qualify it by saying that "he sounds like a really powerful adventuring NPC to me." I'm not trying to be dismissive of Harrek's heroic tale, but I am trying to share a different perspective on the subject material from someone less personally invested. 

 

Nick Brooke wrote on April 2nd

Nick, I quoted you earlier because that previous quote was a reasonable position and I wanted to represent you fairly. I DO want to know Chaosium's position on high level play in regard to what you said, but it was a fair and gracious post. But here? You're just being 'clever' and dismissive and apparently getting validated for it by your peers. You're drawing a direct comparison to an RPG with a folk tale and children's book (enjoyed by all ages and including me) bereft of any context. Professor Tolkien wasn't thinking of an RPG when he wrote the Hobbit for his children, for his family, and I think we all know that. So of course the idea that Bilbo is a dragonslayer is really laughable. But we're not talking about a Middle Earth RPG, we're talking about Glorantha where myth is real. Aren't we? And isn't it?

Greg started writing fiction in the late 60's, right? I don't know how much Dragon Pass fiction he wrote back then (and I think it's moot), by 1975 Harrek and Jar-Eel were counters on a board game (if they're not than you're just going to have to roll with it because I've never seen the game).. People have reverse engineered an RPG onto Middle Earth after Tolkien's death. My point is gamification is part of Glorantha's history however and to a much greater degree of intentionality and it was done at the hand of it's creator. And hey, I am glad that he did.

Nick Brooke wrote, April 2nd

I kinda want to be bothered by this remark, but I admit it's harder. I see some good faith here. But I do think all these references to kaiju and King Kong and whatever Super RuneQuest is don't add anything to the discourse. Nick, it feels like you're forcing this to be a binary choice here. That on one hand, one can "defeat these monsters by making it into an interesting story and/or use of Glorantha's history and mythology"... or...what?  That's kind of a loaded question isn't it? I grant that you were replying EpicureanDM's original post about the mechanics of a high level fight with Dorastor monsters, but there's kinda of a sly subtext there. 

I think an interesting story that draws upon Glorantha's history and mythology should be absolutely integral and necessary to defeating or matching wits with Glorantha's powerful entities. Except whatever this unspoken alternative is? (psst I think it's magical and/or physical combat) It doesn't have to be off the table. It should be something that COULD BE part of the equation, but yes... it always needs to be an interesting story that draws upon Glorantha's history and mythology. Is it because you don't think that anything a GM can challenge their players with will ever be enough to measure up to Mr. Stafford's vision of Glorantha? So that no one can ever be as good or bad-ass as his heroes? Because if that is true then it all flies in the face of the spirit of YGMV.

I suppose this will come down to YGMV. Let me just take a shortcut and accept that. I don't care what people think about how I play or how I chose to run the game. What does matter is whether the math of this game is going to break and it becomes tedious and unfun.

@Jeff kindly this again is where I'd really welcome your input. When Nick says "You can't" do stuff in this game like fight Dorastor Monsters or become Heroes, is he correct? Nick also said, "The problem is, you’re not really playing RuneQuest the way the rest of us do at that point, and anything Chaosium brings out won’t easily work in your games." Is this true?

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, sir. I just thought things were going to be different in this edition. We're going to have heroquest rules and Andrew Montgomery is working on them, they're almost finished.. and we have a whole GM's book.... to maybe show us how to take our game to the next level? These guys make it seem like none of that matters and people should be content with being bit players in a grand story reserved for NPCs.

Cards on the table. I was going to order a slipcase of the core books yesterday because after 40 years I finally found a group that will play Runequest with me. I spent all day yesterday reading threads, window shopping the Chaosium store for books, watching about 8 of your YouTube videos. I dug out my Glorantha Sourcebook. Then I read the thread I linked before and I was dismayed and discouraged and obviously a little irritated. I said to myself, "F-- it. Never mind. Glorantha is still too cool for school." I don't say this as a threat or to be petulant. I absolutely think Runequest Glorantha will be a critical and commercial success without me, my opinions, or my money and don't let the door hit me on the ass when I leave, as they say. I'm happy for this renaissance because I do love Glorantha and I hope for it's continued life and success. Rather I say it because I'm 55, I don't have unlimited money, and there are other games and campaigns I'd like to run in this lifetime. It would be a kindness to me to know what to expect from this edition rather than just be disappointed.
 

Plus I want someone to give me some good news. Tell me I can do what I want with this edition. I reckon you're the only one with the knowledge and authority to answer definitively.

Thanks,

PS: Nick Brooke, if I singled you out it was because I respect you and usually enjoy your contributions. I see how hard you work to support this community. I've seen your name for many many years lurking on forums. I didn't reply to some of your colleagues because I didn't see any common ground or any way to avoid just unhelpful comments and arguments. My regrets if it seems like I'm scapegoating you...

There's a LOT there!

Of course characters should try to become heroes. Many player characters already probably are.  However, one does not usually become a Hero by gaining stupidly high skill levels or what-not, one becomes a hero through interacting with the Hero Plane - with the mythology and archetypes of the setting itself.

That's not done by figuring out a way to have such a high skill level as to be able to critically hit the Crimson Bat over and over again (actually I am not sure that would even work) - rather it is done by figuring out a way to defeat the Crimson Bat as a mythic archetype, like we would in a dream or fairytale. That's dangerous too - but is within the realm of the feasible. That's how Hon-eel wooed Yelm, how the Red Goddess performed her Goddess-Quest, and how Harmast Barefoot performed the Lightbringers Quest.

So actually I tend to throw characters into the realm of Heroes fast and early. Let them Discorporate and wander the Spirit World, or enter the Hero Plane to confront the magical archetypes of the Gods Realm. Here it is their Runes, their POW, their CON, their Passions, their Rune spells, and any Hero Points they have managed to accumulate that matter, not their skills or items. 

Through this the characters might gain the boon that lets them strike down the terrible Red Dragon or to confront the end of the cosmos and survive. But this is something very different from "Super-RuneQuest" - this is like adventuring in a myth of your own making, making use of your innermost self, your allies, and those who love or hate you. Does that help at all?

 

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1 hour ago, Wheel Shield said:

Hi,

I'm starting a new thread but I am responding to another recent thread. The main topic of that thread was answered and seems to have to come to a conclusion for the OP @EpicureanDM, but there were side conversations and ancillary comments that are important to me. I want to step aside from talking about specific Jonstown Compendium products and talk about the expectations I should have from Runequest Glorantha. If you want to the original conversation for context it is
Using the rules of the game, how are PCs expected to defeat "high-level" opponents? And I'm reluctantly invoking @Jeff because I'd really value and appreciate the input from someone who can speak with authority on the matter. 


The part of that forum thread that bothered me was this tension concerning whether PCs in this new edition of Runequest can ever expect to interact with Heroes. Treat that sentence as like the main point of this post. I'm choosing my words carefully here so I ask respondents to stick with me. I wrote "ever expect" because I understand that the Core book doesn't really address Heroic conflict, but with the GM's book and Heroquesting rules on the horizon I wasn't thinking that such conflict would NEVER be possible. Just not today. And I am cool with that, for the present, but...
The other word I chose carefully was "interact."  It's an intentionally neutral word, but I want you to know what I mean. I mean affect situations and adventures with Heroes by any means, if that be through Heroquesting Secrets, 'mythology' strategy and diplomacy or.. though very dangerous combat. I'm driven to use such a wishy-washy word like 'interact' because the conversation in the other thread depicted this in some judgmental terms. I just don't want to be on the receiving end of a mischaracterization as power-munchkin, because that's not who I am and not the sort of play I encourage.  Yet this post is important and I wanted to reply to it. The boldface emphasis is mine. I quoted the whole post to try to avoid cherry picking

 @Nick Brooke, April 2nd

@Jeff if there is any question why I tagged you, it's here, specifically the first paragraph. Is Nick accurate when he says this? 


Some context: I have always operated under the belief that someday a Runequest system would exist that allowed players to be significant participants in the Hero Wars. I forget the byline but I vaguely recall RQ3 being something "Bronze Age Adventure at the Dawn of the Hero Wars!" You co-wrote HQG with Robin Laws. The selling point for HQG (for me) was that it scaled so that you could do what you wanted to do with it. I own it but have never played it. I suppose my preference would be to play or run Runequest for my prospective Glorantha games, so I have been biding my time, but that was something I admired about HQG.

@Everyone When I look at the first sentence of my previous paragraph and I see the words "significant participant" and I realize that is a really subjective term. It's hard to wrap my head around what exactly that looks like. When I try, this explanation comes to mind but it doesn't really explain what 'significant participant' means to me... but maybe it will be helpful.

When I think about Orlanth, he is a god. I wouldn't think about giving him a statblock. He can just do magical things because he is a god (I'm deliberately keeping it simple here, so I'm not bringing up a lot of meta-cosmology like the Runes). His strengths, weakness and limits are best defined (IMO) by a non-quantified comparison to Other Gods and Enemies like True Dragons. He's literally the wind or storms. He was born before the Dawn of Time. Heck when Arachne Solara gave birth to Time it sounds like he helped put it into place with the help of a lot of other folks. My point is, I don't think in terms of competing with him directly. Either as a player or running such a game as GM.

But then we get to Harrek. A mountain didn't give birth to him, but rather a woman I assume? He was born in Time. He did kill a bear god but I have always assumed he did that through by doing some heroquesting and at the same time I imagine there was some good ol' melee combat in there too. Fair? After all he skinned the thing? He's called a demigod but there is no formal definition of what that means. Do people sacrifice power to him? Does he grant rune spells? Can I go to the Otherside and walk his path and get some of his bear and/or pirate powers? Jeff could say yes to any of those last three questions and I would be hung out to dry, but I think a reasonable person can see the point I'm making. Harrek spends a lot of time sailing around the world, in Time, and robbing people, on a boat (not flying through the air) until he finds a cause. Because he's not a god.

Stepping outside of being a Glorantha fan, I see Orlanth as a God and Harrek as a high level adventuring NPC. A really powerful high level adventuring NPC, but not a god. Not the literal wind or ALL the STORMS, but a pirate who travels by boat and robs people. I'm sure you guys can argue he shrugs off sunspears from a dozen rune priests or whatever, but again, I qualify it by saying that "he sounds like a really powerful adventuring NPC to me." I'm not trying to be dismissive of Harrek's heroic tale, but I am trying to share a different perspective on the subject material from someone less personally invested. 

 

Nick Brooke wrote on April 2nd

Nick, I quoted you earlier because that previous quote was a reasonable position and I wanted to represent you fairly. I DO want to know Chaosium's position on high level play in regard to what you said, but it was a fair and gracious post. But here? You're just being 'clever' and dismissive and apparently getting validated for it by your peers. You're drawing a direct comparison to an RPG with a folk tale and children's book (enjoyed by all ages and including me) bereft of any context. Professor Tolkien wasn't thinking of an RPG when he wrote the Hobbit for his children, for his family, and I think we all know that. So of course the idea that Bilbo is a dragonslayer is really laughable. But we're not talking about a Middle Earth RPG, we're talking about Glorantha where myth is real. Aren't we? And isn't it?

Greg started writing fiction in the late 60's, right? I don't know how much Dragon Pass fiction he wrote back then (and I think it's moot), by 1975 Harrek and Jar-Eel were counters on a board game (if they're not than you're just going to have to roll with it because I've never seen the game).. People have reverse engineered an RPG onto Middle Earth after Tolkien's death. My point is gamification is part of Glorantha's history however and to a much greater degree of intentionality and it was done at the hand of it's creator. And hey, I am glad that he did.

Nick Brooke wrote, April 2nd

I kinda want to be bothered by this remark, but I admit it's harder. I see some good faith here. But I do think all these references to kaiju and King Kong and whatever Super RuneQuest is don't add anything to the discourse. Nick, it feels like you're forcing this to be a binary choice here. That on one hand, one can "defeat these monsters by making it into an interesting story and/or use of Glorantha's history and mythology"... or...what?  That's kind of a loaded question isn't it? I grant that you were replying EpicureanDM's original post about the mechanics of a high level fight with Dorastor monsters, but there's kinda of a sly subtext there. 

I think an interesting story that draws upon Glorantha's history and mythology should be absolutely integral and necessary to defeating or matching wits with Glorantha's powerful entities. Except whatever this unspoken alternative is? (psst I think it's magical and/or physical combat) It doesn't have to be off the table. It should be something that COULD BE part of the equation, but yes... it always needs to be an interesting story that draws upon Glorantha's history and mythology. Is it because you don't think that anything a GM can challenge their players with will ever be enough to measure up to Mr. Stafford's vision of Glorantha? So that no one can ever be as good or bad-ass as his heroes? Because if that is true then it all flies in the face of the spirit of YGMV.

I suppose this will come down to YGMV. Let me just take a shortcut and accept that. I don't care what people think about how I play or how I chose to run the game. What does matter is whether the math of this game is going to break and it becomes tedious and unfun.

@Jeff kindly this again is where I'd really welcome your input. When Nick says "You can't" do stuff in this game like fight Dorastor Monsters or become Heroes, is he correct? Nick also said, "The problem is, you’re not really playing RuneQuest the way the rest of us do at that point, and anything Chaosium brings out won’t easily work in your games." Is this true?

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, sir. I just thought things were going to be different in this edition. We're going to have heroquest rules and Andrew Montgomery is working on them, they're almost finished.. and we have a whole GM's book.... to maybe show us how to take our game to the next level? These guys make it seem like none of that matters and people should be content with being bit players in a grand story reserved for NPCs.

Cards on the table. I was going to order a slipcase of the core books yesterday because after 40 years I finally found a group that will play Runequest with me. I spent all day yesterday reading threads, window shopping the Chaosium store for books, watching about 8 of your YouTube videos. I dug out my Glorantha Sourcebook. Then I read the thread I linked before and I was dismayed and discouraged and obviously a little irritated. I said to myself, "F-- it. Never mind. Glorantha is still too cool for school." I don't say this as a threat or to be petulant. I absolutely think Runequest Glorantha will be a critical and commercial success without me, my opinions, or my money and don't let the door hit me on the ass when I leave, as they say. I'm happy for this renaissance because I do love Glorantha and I hope for it's continued life and success. Rather I say it because I'm 55, I don't have unlimited money, and there are other games and campaigns I'd like to run in this lifetime. It would be a kindness to me to know what to expect from this edition rather than just be disappointed.
 

Plus I want someone to give me some good news. Tell me I can do what I want with this edition. I reckon you're the only one with the knowledge and authority to answer definitively.

Thanks,

PS: Nick Brooke, if I singled you out it was because I respect you and usually enjoy your contributions. I see how hard you work to support this community. I've seen your name for many many years lurking on forums. I didn't reply to some of your colleagues because I didn't see any common ground or any way to avoid just unhelpful comments and arguments. My regrets if it seems like I'm scapegoating you...

So, my own cards on the table here. I'm not involved with Chaosium in any way except as a customer. I'm also someone who has, while not in the same way, certainly grappled with these kinds of topics when it comes to playing in Glorantha.

There's a certain way in which Glorantha gets talked about where it's like the old West End Games Star Wars RPG, or like a couple of other RPGs that consisted of licensed properties from other media, which dealt with the question of "What relation should this game have to the original media object(s)?" by saying, "Games, scenarios, and campaigns are a kind of derivative work from the original media object, and as a derivative work are lesser in some fashion, so player characters will take part in similar events to those in the original media property but with a lower set of material stakes involved, and we will signify that this is the case by providing very big numbers for the 'canon' characters to compare your PCs to."

And this is utterly bizarre because there is no original media property being licensed. Glorantha as an object the public can interact with generally begins as a board game, continues on as a role-playing game, and only 18 years into this existence does it get a work of (unconventional) prose fiction at novel length. In addition, the prior existing Glorantha that Greg Stafford played with privately didn't have Dragon Pass or any of the important people within the imagined contemporary of the setting. There has never been a time when Jar-eel or Argrath or the Feathered Horse Queen have existed outside of a player's ability to control their every action within the scope of a set of board game rules, right down to defining their ethics within the scope of the predefined background in the rulebook. Do you hire the Tusk Riders? Do you sacrifice the Ducks to Delecti? Do you go fetch Hungry Jack, or feed the Hydra? The option, the choice, is yours.

So in that sense, there is no real reason why there should be any reverence attached to these fictional entities in the way that we might attach some reverence to Luke Skywalker or Frodo Baggins or whoever, because Glorantha has always existed in actual fact as a place where we have to push pieces around on a board or put on a silly voice and imagine ourselves wearing a funny hat and temporarily exist within the shells of these entities to some degree.

But that reverence does exist, or appear to. I don't know why. What I do know is that I feel very free to be exceptionally playful with the setting NPCs and run games where player characters are interacting with the Hero Wars on the level of "Well, how do we recruit Gunda the Guilty to our side?" But at the same time, I feel fairly well convinced that this is not the level of freedom that Chaosium products are ever going to foreground, for understandable reasons, so pretty much everything I do that draws from published material, Chaosium or Jonstown Compendium/doujin work, has to be a Ship of Theseus by the time I'm done working on it.

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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The campaign I run is specifically about the characters participating in the hero wars: as the hero band that forms the core of the Veldang Revolution in Fonrit.  My plan for getting them from starting characters to the point where they can participate at that level is simple: yoke their characters into a truly world-spanning quest (the rejuvenation the god Artmal).  I essentially took the outline of Argrath's background and decided to subject the player characters to similar pressures and magical influences, including a circumnavigation of the world, to build them up into figures of similar stature as him.  We're around two years into the game, and they're starting to pull off some very surprising things, now that we're in Fronela and participating in the War Against War (gotta traverse the Janube to get to the Blue Moon Plateau and the next piece of Artmal).

If you want your players to engage with the setting at that level, I say go for it, just bear in mind the sort of legwork and tribulation it takes to get player characters believably into that league.

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2 minutes ago, EpicureanDM said:

If only this approach to play early play was made explicit in the rules and scenarios whose published form is under your control.

Umm, the rules for heroquesting are due to appear in the GM sourcebook and have not been published. We needed to get them in there, because the Sartar Campaign Book gets into heroquesting very quickly. But none of the scenarios we have published have at their core fighting a super-monster (unless you consider Redeye, but he's certainly within the range of the pregens to defeat, let alone a more experienced party). 

Terrors like the Crimson Bat are written up and given stats for the same reason Great Cthulhu has stats in Call of Cthulhu. But if I wanted to defeat Great Cthulhu it would likely be by some means other than brute force.

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@Wheel Shield -- I think you have misapprehended @Nick Brooke's posts.

n.b. I don't speak for Nick -- nor @Jeff, nor anyone else with official info -- but I'd like to offer my own understanding (if nothing else, so I can learn how & where I've misunderstood):


In his earlier post, Nick mentioned "SuperRuneQuest."  This was a fan-given name for fannish HouseRule's (and even "products") that covered ultra-high-level play.  Skills not just "above 100%" but in the MULTIPLE hundreds of percents; I think I saw reports one group had PC's with skills over 1000% !

The basic model was the same as D&D's model:  higher-level play meant bigger numbers all-round.  Skills go up, HP's go up, EVERYTHING goes up.  The fights are just... magnified.  But it's still, essentially, just throwing around HP's of damage, and hoping you can Zero the other side before they can Zero you (just like Rurik's first fight in Gimpy's Tavern).

As I understand it, this is (very much!) not the model Chaosium will be pursuing in forthcoming RQG "high level play" rules.

###

In Nick's other quoted post (mentioning Jack-the-Giant-Killer & Bilbo), I don't think Nick was being "dismissive" at all!

He was offering a perfectly valid (and very Gloranthan) alternative to that "everything goes up" model of high-level play; it uses "mythic stuff" in place of massive increase in HPs and skills.  And no -- frustrating as it is -- we don't have these details (yet).


That's not to say there WON'T be any multi-hundred-% skills showing up -- or even achievable by PC's (tho I suspect that'll be tough in the RAW) -- but that the upcoming rules won't feature such things as "the way" to achieve "impossible" feats such as Harrek and Jar-Eel perform.

Edited by g33k
the'divvil, mon! he's in th' details, innhe?
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2 hours ago, Wheel Shield said:

The part of that forum thread that bothered me was this tension concerning whether PCs in this new edition of Runequest can ever expect to interact with Heroes. Treat that sentence as like the main point of this post. I'm choosing my words carefully here so I ask respondents to stick with me. I wrote "ever expect" because I understand that the Core book doesn't really address Heroic conflict, but with the GM's book and Heroquesting rules on the horizon I wasn't thinking that such conflict would NEVER be possible. Just not today. And I am cool with that, for the present, but...
The other word I chose carefully was "interact."  It's an intentionally neutral word, but I want you to know what I mean. I mean affect situations and adventures with Heroes by any means, if that be through Heroquesting Secrets, 'mythology' strategy and diplomacy or.. though very dangerous combat.

I can just comment from my perspective and my own gameplay, but I believe "YES" you should and can expect to interact with Heroes in this edition of RuneQuest.  And by interact, yes, I mean through multiple strategies whether mythic heroquests, diplomacy, or other strategies as Jeff has noted above.

What I don't expect is for it to go in the "Super-RuneQuest" path where you strive to increase your combat skill to 500% so that you can defeat Cwim or the Crimson Bat upon the field of battle by the use of your sword alone.  

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, g33k said:

@Wheel Shield -- I think you have misapprehended @Nick Brooke's posts.

n.b. I don't speak for Nick -- nor @Jeff, nor anyone else with official info -- but I'd like to offer my own understanding (if nothing else, so I can learn how & where I've misunderstood):

I am going to reply to this post first because I would like to apologize to @Nick Brooke. My intent was not to mischaracterize. I did let emotion get the best of me. 

For right or for wrong, I replied to Nick because his were a couple of posts I trusted my self to reply to without going more over-the-top than I did. That makes it seem like he got the brunt of my "wrath." I didn't mean for that to be the case but in the process of writing I still got carried away.

 

One person wrote that players should "expect", if they're tough, smart, and lucky they might be equal to Merry and Pippin in the LOTR. "Amusing little fellows who get some side scenes." That's close to a quote, check the other thread and see if it isn't.

There's no way in hell I ever want to play a game like that. I wouldn't buy that game and I wouldn't run it. This attitude has nothing to do with Merry and Pippin, I think they're great. But the comment contextualizes that the PCs should expect to be trivialized by the setting. "Amusing little fellows that get side scenes." I actually think that is a disservice to Tolkien's fiction, because they were kinda country lads who bravely went into a massive conflict well over their life experience. Those characters don't really deserve to be trivialized any more than any player deserves to have their character be trivialized by the setting-or by a GM who places the setting over Maximum Game Fun.

And when the author of that post singles Nick out as the person with whom they strongly identify with and who shares their perspective.. I'm sorry Mr. Brooke, I should have cut you some slack. There was some misplaced frustration.

And for the record, the last time someone told me I would never EVER be Elminister (EVER!) I took all my D&D books to the used book store and sold them. I probably bought used Runequest books with that store credit (which then got lost in a cross country move.) My point is I didn't care for Mary Sue characters and I didn't invest any more time and money in that game or that company. I don't even know why Eliminster and Mordakinwhatever got brought up in the conversation other than the author felt they had to put some unmentioned D&D players in their place.

And the Deities and Demigods book is 41 years old. Damn near half a century. If it still casts some long shadow over Runequest 4th edition we need to open the curtains, let some light in, and forget it.

1 hour ago, g33k said:

In his earlier post, Nick mentioned "SuperRuneQuest."  This was a fan-given name for fannish HouseRule's (and even "products") that covered ultra-high-level play.  Skills not just "above 100%" but in the MULTIPLE hundreds of percents; I think I saw reports one group had PC's with skills over 1000% !

The basic model was the same as D&D's model:  higher-level play meant bigger numbers all-round.  Skills go up, HP's go up, EVERYTHING goes up.  The fights are just... magnified.  But it's still, essentially, just throwing around HP's of damage, and hoping you can Zero the other side before they can Zero you (just like Rurik's first fight in Gimpy's Tavern).

As I understand it, this is (very much!) not the model Chaosium will be pursuing in forthcoming RQG "high level play" rules.

Thank you, that does make a lot more sense.

 

1 hour ago, g33k said:

In Nick's other quoted post (mentioning Jack-the-Giant-Killer & Bilbo), I don't think Nick was being "dismissive" at all!

He was offering a perfectly valid (and very Gloranthan) alternative to that "everything goes up" model of high-level play; it uses "mythic stuff" in place of massive increase in HPs and skills.  And no -- frustrating as it is -- we don't have these details (yet).


That's not to say there WON'T be any multi-hundred-% skills showing up -- or even achievable by PC's (tho I suspect that'll be tough in the RAW) -- but that the upcoming rules won't feature such things as "the way" to achieve "impossible" feats such as Harrek and Jar-Eel perform.

I like that. Because I'm taking away that it won't be impossible to do things like Harrek and Jar-Eel; but grinding skills won't be the way that comes about. I can deal with that. It feels right.

I feel better and I appreciate your post.

Edited by Wheel Shield
just a grammar tweak
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Jeff said:

There's a LOT there!

Of course characters should try to become heroes. Many player characters already probably are.  However, one does not usually become a Hero by gaining stupidly high skill levels or what-not, one becomes a hero through interacting with the Hero Plane - with the mythology and archetypes of the setting itself.

That's not done by figuring out a way to have such a high skill level as to be able to critically hit the Crimson Bat over and over again (actually I am not sure that would even work) - rather it is done by figuring out a way to defeat the Crimson Bat as a mythic archetype, like we would in a dream or fairytale. That's dangerous too - but is within the realm of the feasible. That's how Hon-eel wooed Yelm, how the Red Goddess performed her Goddess-Quest, and how Harmast Barefoot performed the Lightbringers Quest.

So actually I tend to throw characters into the realm of Heroes fast and early. Let them Discorporate and wander the Spirit World, or enter the Hero Plane to confront the magical archetypes of the Gods Realm. Here it is their Runes, their POW, their CON, their Passions, their Rune spells, and any Hero Points they have managed to accumulate that matter, not their skills or items. 

Through this the characters might gain the boon that lets them strike down the terrible Red Dragon or to confront the end of the cosmos and survive. But this is something very different from "Super-RuneQuest" - this is like adventuring in a myth of your own making, making use of your innermost self, your allies, and those who love or hate you. Does that help at all?

 

That does help. It helps a lot. I mean this as a joke, but I'm ready to come in off the ledge now.

I can accept that Runequest Glorantha works this way and actually it sounds a lot better than trying to critically hit demigods and cosmic demons. Thank you for reading and replying and being patient.

Edited by Wheel Shield
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1 hour ago, dumuzid said:

The campaign I run is specifically about the characters participating in the hero wars: as the hero band that forms the core of the Veldang Revolution in Fonrit.  My plan for getting them from starting characters to the point where they can participate at that level is simple: yoke their characters into a truly world-spanning quest (the rejuvenation the god Artmal).  I essentially took the outline of Argrath's background and decided to subject the player characters to similar pressures and magical influences, including a circumnavigation of the world, to build them up into figures of similar stature as him.  We're around two years into the game, and they're starting to pull off some very surprising things, now that we're in Fronela and participating in the War Against War (gotta traverse the Janube to get to the Blue Moon Plateau and the next piece of Artmal).

If you want your players to engage with the setting at that level, I say go for it, just bear in mind the sort of legwork and tribulation it takes to get player characters believably into that league.

Sounds like an awesome game! And I appreciate the point you make that it takes hard work to for the player characters to earn that power.

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2 hours ago, Jeff said:

Umm, the rules for heroquesting are due to appear in the GM sourcebook and have not been published. We needed to get them in there, because the Sartar Campaign Book gets into heroquesting very quickly. But none of the scenarios we have published have at their core fighting a super-monster (unless you consider Redeye, but he's certainly within the range of the pregens to defeat, let alone a more experienced party). 

Perhaps, but neither are the scenarios you’ve published so far about:

3 hours ago, Jeff said:

[Throwing] characters into the realm of Heroes fast and early. Let them Discorporate and wander the Spirit World, or enter the Hero Plane to confront the magical archetypes of the Gods Realm. Here it is their Runes, their POW, their CON, their Passions, their Rune spells, and any Hero Points they have managed to accumulate that matter, not their skills or items. 

If RQG PCs are meant to get into spiritual worlds “fast and early,” that information should be in the core book you published four years ago. That information might be helpful to RuneQuest GMs, but, alas, there’s no GMing section in the core book.

13th Age Glorantha (I’ll abbreviate to 13G in future) was published in the same year as RQG and they’ve got Heroquesting rules in their book! The Heroquesting rules in 13th Age Glorantha are designed to be used with low-level characters. One of the prewritten hero quests published in the book is expressly for low-level characters. The designers explicitly tell the GM that in the text:

Quote

This [hero]quest is designed for adventurer-tier PCs.

Your name is in the credits of 13G, @Jeff. You knew they were doing that and you could have done the same if you thought that heroquesting should happen “fast and early” in an RQG game. I don't blame @Wheel Shield for drawing the conclusions in the initial post.

What’s telling about how 13G is that their heroquesting rules are designed to work with the rest of the rules. None of this nonsense about discarding skills and items, and shifting to just using POW, CON, Runes, and Hero Points (whatever those are). 13G reflects a design ethos that prizes the game’s rules as tools to produce the sort of experiences you imagine your game to be about. What should be made explicit to you, @Wheel Shield, is that RQG’s designers don’t really put much emphasis on the game part of it. It’s not where the juice is for them. Glorantha/RQ veterans always shift the goalposts to talk about "high skill ratings" or "Super-RuneQuest" because they don't think of game design the same way that you (and I) do.

4 hours ago, Wheel Shield said:

Nick also said, "The problem is, you’re not really playing RuneQuest the way the rest of us do at that point, and anything Chaosium brings out won’t easily work in your games." Is this true?

As for Nick Brooke, @Wheel Shield, I don’t think he necessarily deserves as much deference as you’re extending to him.  In his Gloranthan Manifesto - Part One, he writes:

Quote

I have reached the point where I take the RQ rules as being binding on my players, only…Essentially, my players are playing with a fairly rigid RuneQuest simulation, while the world they’re in can be run using HeroQuest’s more narratives assumptions.

Nick Brooke has no credible claim to how “the rest of us” are playing RuneQuest if that’s how he’s doing things.

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It's up to your group.

As for us, in one future I'd like my Vinga Wind Lady to defeat Jareel, marry Argrath, and their children rule for generations.

In a more realistic future, I hope that our PCs will certainly meet and interact with most of the great heroes, on both sides.  And perform missions for them, perhaps fighting against (or contesting with, our games are combat heavy), not the enemy heroes directly, but their lieutenants.

Edited by Rodney Dangerduck
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9 hours ago, Wheel Shield said:

PS: Nick Brooke, if I singled you out it was because I respect you and usually enjoy your contributions. I see how hard you work to support this community. I've seen your name for many many years lurking on forums. I didn't reply to some of your colleagues because I didn't see any common ground or any way to avoid just unhelpful comments and arguments. My regrets if it seems like I'm scapegoating you...

I don't feel scapegoated at all. You've understood what I wrote, and by and large represented it correctly in your massive wall of text. (There are a few flubs, a bit of silly "wrathposting," but life is too short to waste whinging at randos on the intertubes). I won't reply at the same length because ain't nobody got time for that; and @Jeff and @g33k have defended my honour while I was asleep, anyway. 

I am writing in good faith when I say that if you want to defeat a giant, you should look at the way heroes in folklore do it, rather than try to become a giant yourself (with a big damage bonus, loads of hit points, mondo armour, etc.). There are some scenario seeds in early editions of Pendragon, in which the player character knights simply can't beat a dragon unless they follow the story and do it the right way; QuestWorlds also encourages you to think about scenario story beats like that. Glorantha is a world rich in myths, history, legends: learn to use them. They will serve you better than a +1D6 damage bonus, in the end.

I am not presenting an "official" Chaosium position or demanding deference, I'm just trying to help people have fun with Glorantha. I write RuneQuest adventures where player characters get to interact heroically with "gross" NPCs like Fazzur Wideread or Argrath Dragonspear: people seem to like them, even though they don't have SuperRuneQuest stats or rewards for power-gamers. (NB: in my next scenario you get to play as Moonson, Jar-eel, Beat-pot, etc.).

I don't really care how @EpicureanDM does things; they're allowed to ignore my well-meaning advice, and I hope they have fun in Glorantha for many years to come.

Finally, I'm sure @Eff noticed this quote from Black Spear (p.153):

Quote

Argrath more than most can perceive that all mortals are mere instruments of Fate, pieces moved upon the game board by powers greater than themselves.

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It depends on what you enjoy as a game. This is my own evolution.

My first character in Runequest was a power gaming monster, an Arkati ZZ sorcerer that after many efforts could kill anything with stats and regenerate most damage. But it was impossible to have fun with it. No thrill, no emotion except making up huge monsters or even more enemies at the same time. And we did trial test killing the Bat, but no player was willing to risk their player doing that.

Then we played a band of misfits just travelling around and trying to keep ahead of a lot of people that wanted to kill / maim / suck their souls. They were powerful in skills just by playing a long time, and collected relics and powerful items just by robbery and straightforward looting corpses, which just brought even more people after them. And it was great fun, even if they did not really change anything in the Hero Wars. And they met many Heroes, and even killed a few (they just got back from death, as that is what happens when you kill a hero by chance). It used the rich tapestry of Glorantha to set up a Dexter like murder rampage for years. Archetypical murder hoboes as many people dislike, but a fun game.

Finally in the current campaign the main characters have no skill over 90, no earth shaking magic, no powerful magic items, no godly patronage. But so far they have met Zistor and many Named Hero level people (this is Second Age, so not so many known Heroes), have delayed the fall of Zistor for 5-6 years by disrupting the orlanthi EWF alliance, have destroyed a proto dragon, saved an Arkat's fragment from the GLs, and are on their way to meet Yanas Kyrem (too late to meet Joraz as was the initial plan), Lord Lybragon and  Pavis apotheosized. Directly they have killed a couple of Broos, some GL constructs, four Delecti zombies and one bandit. Most of what they have achieved has been by talking with people, making them do things, stealing some ritual items, and joining heroquests and taking them in their own direction. And running away many times, avoiding some people, Lying (capitalized Lie here) to them, or simply surrendering and grovelling. 

Meeting Heroes, manipulating them, or even finding a weak spot and using it is a role playing thing, not roll playing, as we roll very few dice in hero quests or high stakes meetings. The broos were probably the most dangerous encounter in the whole campaign, and it was because they went looking for an Uroxi they wanted to befriend, who was hunting broos at the time. The main thing, as Mr. Brooke does in Black Spear and other works, is not to be afraid to use the big names, make them human and easy to interact, and what for many people is the hardest part, to be willing to depart from the so called canon if the players do something unexpected, because it is their game after all.

That is why I do not like so much Dragon Pass 1600-1627, because through the years it has become more of a TV series script than a game, with lots of events already fixed. I prefer to explore the Second Age, or Western Genertela Hero Wars, because there are some guidelines and big events, but also a lot of space for the players to become the main characters. And if the players want, we can always go to Nochet and enjoy the atmosphere.

It is a matter of attitude, just forget the rat race of increasing personal power, because there will always be someone more powerful, and instead find a different way, more human, of dealing with other humans. Violence is a tool, but a quite limited one. 

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7 hours ago, Wheel Shield said:

There's no way in hell I ever want to play a game like that. I wouldn't buy that game and I wouldn't run it. This attitude has nothing to do with Merry and Pippin, I think they're great. But the comment contextualizes that the PCs should expect to be trivialized by the setting. "Amusing little fellows that get side scenes."

in any game you as a customer, as a gm + players community, you can reach the level you want

you are a buyer, nobody can tell you to do anything.

 

yes in D&d, you may decide to replace Elminister  (don't know, don't like d&d)

yes in vampire the masquarade, you can drink god

yes in Glorantha, you may decide to be able to kill Argrath, eat the crimson bat, even destroy the invisible god or the cosmic dragon.

That's your choice, that is not a question of rules

but once this is done, what is the next door ? Ok you just killed the cosmic dragon, you replaced god etc ? what will you do now ?

 

I think this is the point : when people say never you will blabla, that means, there will not be scenario proposed to "end" the game. just because so few people (or customers) want to reach this level.

So yes do what you want

 

but for me seeing a limit you cannot reach is more interesting, you are always progressing, but the curve of progress is asymptotic, and at the end, the play should be more, in my opinion, how to manipulate the world than how to destroy a always bigger opponent

 

 

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11 hours ago, Jeff said:

Umm, the rules for heroquesting are due to appear in the GM sourcebook and have not been published. We needed to get them in there, because the Sartar Campaign Book gets into heroquesting very quickly. But none of the scenarios we have published have at their core fighting a super-monster (unless you consider Redeye, but he's certainly within the range of the pregens to defeat, let alone a more experienced party). 

Terrors like the Crimson Bat are written up and given stats for the same reason Great Cthulhu has stats in Call of Cthulhu. But if I wanted to defeat Great Cthulhu it would likely be by some means other than brute force.

There is a rules compliant way for a lightbringer to potentially defeat the Crimson Bat using standard magic, the Trickster Swallow spell. A very large swallow spell. 

Of course if a PC attempted such a stunt, the Lunars would notice an uncommon accumulation of magic, and [correctly] suspect a rebel plot. Increasingly terrifying heroes would be sent to kill the PC, until someone epic like JarEel took an interest. Or given Tricksters are not known for self restraint, the sponsors of the bat swallow project might decide the cost of fixing all the damage caused by their "hero", on the path to destroying the bat, simply wasn't worth it. A Trickster roaming the landscape with hundreds of points of "Swallow" would be almost as scary as the bat.

Having said that in general characters probably shouldn't be so powerful they can rip the Universe apart and re-arrange it as they wish. Consider the movie The Matrix vs all the sequels. I have no idea what happened in Matrix II and Matrix III, because I always fall asleep a few minutes after the opening credits. Leo was effectively a god by the end of the first movie, so Matrix II and III were just boring, at least for me.

Edited by EricW
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In my view, it's really a question of what you want your game to be about.

If you want to play a game of "mugging baboons in the desert for their grieves" (as Laws likes to say), cattle raiding and feuding with the neighbors, Casablanca-ing around in Pavis, fighting a guerilla war against occupiers, taking "A-Team" jobs for various quest-givers, you're good to go.

If you want to play a game where the PCs become the big wheels themselves, it's important to remember that Argrath and his companions are just another adventuring party, though perhaps with a head-start in the setting and time-frame presented in RQG. There's nothing they have done that your PCs cannot do, if that's what your game is meant to be about. White Bear - Red Moon and King of Sartar are what happens if your PCs were never born. If I were to run a Big Damn Hero Warriors campaign, Garrath Sharpsword would probably drown defending the Giants' Cradle, and leave the PCs with a key to an "If you are reading this, I am already dead... ...You must be the Liberator now." message.  GAME ON!

Rules-wise, others have given some great advice here already. You might also look at QuestWorlds for inspiration in how to frame conflicts  more abstractly when you get into myth-o-logic territory. I'm not saying you need to use a whole different ruleset to get the job done, but some of those ideas around setting goals, means,  and stakes then interpreting the results narratively can work just as well with a skill %  or resistance table check. 

Edited by JonL
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37 minutes ago, JonL said:

In my view, it's really a question of what you want your game to be about.

If you want to play a game of "mugging baboons in the desert for their grieves" (as Laws likes to say), cattle raiding and feuding with the neighbors, Casablanca-ing around in Pavis, fighting a guerilla war against occupiers, taking "A-Team" jobs for various quest-givers, you're good to go.

If you want to play a game where the PCs become the big wheels themselves, it's important to remember that Argrath and his companions are just another adventuring party, though perhaps with a head-start in the setting and time-frame presented in RQG. There's nothing they have done that your PCs cannot do, if that's what your game is meant to be about. White Bear - Red Moon and King of Sartar are what happens if your PCs were never born. If I were to run a Big Damn Hero Warriors campaign, Garrath Sharpsword would probably drown defending the Giants' Cadle, and leave the PCs with a key to an "If you are reading this, I am already dead... ...You must be the Liberator now." message.  GAME ON!

Rules-wise, others have given some great advice here already. You might also look at QuestWorlds for inspiration in how to frame conflicts  more abstractly when you get into myth-o-logic territory. I'm not saying you need to use a whole different ruleset to get the job done, but some of those ideas around setting goals, means,  and stakes then interpreting the results narratively can work just as well with a skill %  or resistance table check. 

You can do that approach - and I have in the past. But I find actually the Pendragon approach works far better and is frankly more enjoyable. Let there be major NPCs that the players bounce off and interact with. There's plenty of room for another Sir Gawaine or Sir Gareth, or  Perdiccas or Aristonous - that's the Prince Valiant approach. Go on adventures, get involved with intrigue and betrayal, lead armies and do amazing quests - but don't bother with making the players responsible for the full movement of the setting. 

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16 minutes ago, Jeff said:

You can do that approach - and I have in the past. But I find actually the Pendragon approach works far better and is frankly more enjoyable. Let there be major NPCs that the players bounce off and interact with. There's plenty of room for another Sir Gawaine or Sir Gareth, or  Perdiccas or Aristonous - that's the Prince Valiant approach. Go on adventures, get involved with intrigue and betrayal, lead armies and do amazing quests - but don't bother with making the players responsible for the full movement of the setting. 

31 flavors, 🙂 I think it's ultimately about who is at your table and what kind of fun they're looking for. Even with the same crew, it can vary. Our weekly group has had two successful Pendragon campaigns. One was very much the "Prince Valiant" experience you're talking about, while the in the other we went full-on warlords. I remember them both quite fondly, though for very different reasons.  

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1 minute ago, JonL said:

31 flavors, 🙂 I think it's ultimately about who is at your table and what kind of fun they're looking for. Even with the same crew, it can vary. Our weekly group has had two successful Pendragon campaigns. One was very much the "Prince Valiant" experience you're talking about, while the in the other we went full-on warlords. I remember them both quite fondly, though for very different reasons.  

Sure - but the full-on warlord approach is a LOT more work for everyone involved (and works better in the Uther phase than in the Boy King, Conquest, Tournament, or Twilight phases). As a default, I'd always go with the Prince Valiant approach over encouraging the players to replace Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere.

Same thing here - let the characters who are the named heroes in the White Bear and Red Moon game move around the board. Let the players bounce around them, perhaps joining them as heroes on the board. The setting can certainly accommodate additional heroes! Sure in the Iliad most versions of the story focus on Achilles, Agamemnon, Patroclus, Hector, and Paris - but there are so many more! Diomedes, Ajax, Odysseus, Nestor, Penthesilia - all of these are wonderful heroes who get great stories regardless of what goes on with the Rage of Achilles.

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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

Sure - but the full-on warlord approach is a LOT more work for everyone involved (and works better in the Uther phase than in the Boy King, Conquest, Tournament, or Twilight phases). As a default, I'd always go with the Prince Valiant approach over encouraging the players to replace Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere.

One of the things I appreciate about Pendragon is the different eras giving richer support to varying game approaches. We warlorded it up in Uther & Anarchy periods, but our quests & errantry game was Tournament-era. That parallels where I'd start "An Argrath is YOU!" sort of play earlier, whereas you & Jason have done a great job setting up a solid Diomede-incubator environment with RQG's premises.

Edited by JonL
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18 hours ago, Wheel Shield said:

Stepping outside of being a Glorantha fan, I see Orlanth as a God and Harrek as a high level adventuring NPC. A really powerful high level adventuring NPC, but not a god. Not the literal wind or ALL the STORMS, but a pirate who travels by boat and robs people. I'm sure you guys can argue he shrugs off sunspears from a dozen rune priests or whatever, but again, I qualify it by saying that "he sounds like a really powerful adventuring NPC to me." I'm not trying to be dismissive of Harrek's heroic tale, but I am trying to share a different perspective on the subject material from someone less personally invested

Orlanth is a god and theres nothing wrong with him.

Harrek is Mary Sue's more incredible cousin.... Let me pitch you my OC adventurer, then tell me if you would allow him 

"Orlanth came back after orlanth is dead, and in the first worship ceremony, a young initiate by the name Jon Pol Joni surprised everyone by kicking the god in the groin harder than any mortal would think a groin kick could be delivered.

After that, while all the runelords, runepriests, the high priest and the Queen of Sartar looked in disbelief, he reached out and grabbed orlanth by the pubes, ripped them off and fancied them as cords for his six-strings of storms.

The ceremony assistants tried to stop him with great magics, but Jon blew their minds with a sweet tune and got away.

Later he stole some horses with his buddies and they ended up raiding every settlement (yes, Every. Single. One). The ammount of cattle the Pol Jonis got was so great that started global warming in glorantha, bringing valinds wrath upon them.

The fight was terrible, and all seemed lost, but then Jon Pol-Joni remembered Orlanth *really* liked the brazilian waxing and named him Master of the Wind Lords, Pitch of all Storm Voices, Bearer of All Orlanths weapons, and keeper of the faith, so he jumped on his enchanted iron horse and defeated the enemy god.

Right now hes wooing JarEel with his music, so he can get intimate with her and kallir (simultaneously) so he fixes the hero wars before they start"

Now, i assume since harrek is a thing, Jon Pol Joni can be a thing too right? 

Edited by icebrand
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"It seems I'm destined not to move ahead in time faster than my usual rate of one second per second"

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I've often said half jokingly that Call of Cthulhu (or any other sort of cosmic horror investigative RPG) should be required playing. It's got everything you need to learn to deal with:

  • Super powerful monsters that you can't possibly beat with your puny weapon: you have to find ancient artifacts, acquire forgotten magic, and perform cosmic rituals at specific places and times to get around the problem.
  • Player characters that are "unbalanced": did I say you had a puny weapon? Maybe you don't even have that! I'm looking at you, journalists and history professors and antiquarians. All extremely fun and useful characters to play in CoC.
  • Meta plots: you're up against Nazi scientists and archaeologists in 1937, trying to stop them from acquiring Mi-Go technology to use on their U-boat programs, or forging an alliance with Deep Ones, or whatever. Even though you know WW2 will happen, it's still fun and there's plenty to do, with plenty of player agency to go around.
  • Very important NPCs: you can get missions from British generals and American presidents, you can spy on leaders of worldwide Mythos cult organizations, you can face centuries-old sorcerers.
  • ... and more! (ask me something, I'm sure I can spin it as something CoC teaches you!)

Seriously, 90% of the questions in this thread (and many other similar threads) can be answered by playing a CoC campaign or two -- and the reason CoC is a great teaching experience is because you don't have any other choice than to figure it out. It's not like "SuperCallOfCthulhu" is even a thing, and you can't just shrug and go dungeon crawling or whatever. You either play CoC or you don't.

Edited by Ludovic aka Lordabdul
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read and listen to  The God Learners , the Gloranthan podcast, newsletter, & blog !

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