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Between BOQ and BOK in my game


PhilHibbs

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My game is currently in between the Battle of the Queens and the Burning of Kallyr. I don't want to hijack the other thread with chatter about my game.

I have been gently angling towards running The Black Spear at some point in the not too distant future. On the face of it, this requires Leika to be on board with Argrath coming and making his claim, likely shutting her out from the top job.

BUT. Immediately after the battle, one of my PCs let out on a powerful rant about "we need to choose a leader now, otherwise we will be weak and the Lunars will invade again and it will be terrible". I gently hinted that that would be difficult whilst one of the main contenders (to whom she has some loyalty) is in Pavis and the other is still dead, leaving only one obvious candidate.

She doubled down saying that the security and strong leadership of Sartar is paramount and more important than personal loyalty. She was clearly having a "We have to do something, THIS is something, therefore we have to do THIS" moment. The rest of the party sat by a little dumbstruck. Vishi is a Praxian so didn't feel it was his place to get involved in Sartarite politics, and Harmast is a Colymar with no loyalty to Argrath and so didn't feel the need to intercede either.

So I said, "sure, roll Orate". 02. Critical success on a "we need to choose a leader now" rant, when there is only one candidate for leader.

Ok, so Leika reluctantly calls a moot then and there to choose a leader. I roll on her Orate setting forth her claim and get a special success. So Leika is now acclaimed the logical choice for leader of Sartar. She sets off for Boldhome with Kallyr's body.

The outspoken Humakti duck now realizes what she's done and starts to back away from supporting Leika. She and Vishi persuade Harmast that he shouldn't throw his hat in with Leika either as that would split party loyalties, the player isn't too bothered either way as he has no personal loyalty to Leika either. Sure, he's loyal to her as tribal queen, but that doesn't mean he has to support a non-Sartar-descendent as prince.

Somehow I need to get this back on track. I don't think it will be too difficult, I initially considered having another faction come to the party to set them off on The Black Spear quest, but the spear is clearly Leika's and that would not work.

Maybe Leika will come to realize over the next few seasons that she can't hold the position of prince. Maybe she will realize that she can't win without Argrath and so wants to get his arse over here and fight and have it out who is prince later. Maybe she's setting a trap for Argrath.

Or I could just run Black Spear without the Black Spear. Some other Sartarite regalia item.

Any other ideas? My players don't read the forum.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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I've just passed that point and Kallyr has been burnt, however he key for me is when does Argrath appear in Sartar and then when does Leika know about him. I'm unsure of his timeline.

Clearly the key moment is in 1627 where Argrath visits Queen Leika and is accepted into the Colymar tribe (KoS, Jalk's Book and History of Dragon Pass in the Glorantha sourcebook) then in 1627, he becomes Prince of Sartar. But the year before that?

Do the Colymar participate in retaking Alda Chur?

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I suggest you play it straight from King of Sartar in Boldhome.  It is the other tribal kings who block Leika becoming Prince.  They also block burning Kallyr for weeks.  

Some of them will also have high Orate skills.  And their own agendas.

Whatever choice was made on the Queens  battlefid, that's just for a war leader.  And it doesn't bind kings or tribes who were not there.

Let your players try to get into high level Sartarite politics.  But give high ranking NPCs a Reputation. And remember the reductions outside your own clan etc.  The competing kings will have much better Rep augmentation than  most adventurers.  Emphasize how people say "who is this nobody who all of a sudden wants to run the politics of Sartar?"  No second chance to speak, booed down.

Go on to burn Kallyr's body. Leika and your Adventurers leave  and on to Black Spear.

OR if they crit a few more times you have a massive YGMV.

 

 

 

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Emphasize how people say "who is this nobody who all of a sudden wants to run the politics of Sartar?"  No second chance to speak, booed down.

I'm not keen on belittling the adventurers as nobodies - that might be how you roll at your table, but it's not how RQG is supposed to roll. But yes she wouldn't have had a second chance to speak if it weren't for that critical success on Orate (sorry to bring RQ mechanics into a Glorantha thread, but the main point of this is what-happens-next-in-my-Glorantha, not the game system). And now, she has played a pivotal role in the politics and people know who she is and that her voice is listened to. I think that terrifies her more than any monster I've thrown at them!

Edited by PhilHibbs
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Let's remember RQ's oft discussed crunchiess. Or realism. 

I have been reading a political biography of Abraham Lincoln.  Which, I know, is not Gloranthan. So I'll get to the point:   Lincoln did not become President on the basis of critting one speech.  He spent years as one of the builders of the Republican coalition.   That's after he was a leading Illinois Whig.   While he frequently demonstrated Orate at 100% or more, he also knew and worked with an awful lot of people.  Intrigue at a master level and U.S. lore, too. Insight (human). 

 That coalition combined former Know-Nothings (nativist conspiracy theorists) with self righteous Free Soilers  such as Senator Sumner, and former Whigs and  Democrats.  Can you imagine the stress on his Harmony rune?  

So I recommend crunch:  Orate is not enough.  Your players should have to demonstrate all of those skills  ( Sartar lore. Not U.S. lore) with several tribal leader NPCs and roll well on their Harmony runes too, before they can become kingmakers - or in this case Prince makers.   Now  I'll bet they signed up to be warriors a lot more than to be politicians.  

 

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
Added Insight after reviewing Lincol and Sumner
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3 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Orate is not enough.  Your players should have to demonstrate all of those skills

Agreed.  Single random crits happen all the time, and players vastly overrate their importance.  Let the PCs make more efforts, and use other skills.  Get them all involved.  You could add other skills to your list, such as Charm, as well as bribery and blackmail (should the party have an Issaries or a Eurmali).  I guess those are aspects of Intrigue and Insight.  🙂

The PCs can also go out of their way to prove their worth and raise their Reputation. 

  • "That Dragon? - we took care of it". 
  • "Ernalda's Mirror, missing for centuries?  Found it".
  • "Hippogriffs?  Yeah, we got em..."
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Posted (edited)

A single random critical success in the Chaosium house campaign literally brought back an extinct species from the God Time into the universe. There are plenty of game worlds where that sort of thing doesn't happen. I like Glorantha the way it was played by the creators.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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Perhaps other significant people in Sartar such as Tribal Kings and various movers and shakers make the point that the decision on who should lead Sartar was made on the battlefield without their support or input.  Other candidates for leadership weren't even present and each of the other significant people has their own agenda.

Leika realises over the next season or two that her position is not well unsupported and realistically untenable.

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Black Spear kicks off in Sea Season 1627. In my story, no matter what happened immediately after the death of Kallyr (canonically, Fire Season 1626), Sartar has been going to hell in a handbasket ever since, with no legitimate Prince, no functioning structures above Tribal level, and several decapitated Tribes in the south. Plus the after-effects of Kallyr’s botched Lightbringer Quest are still being felt at full force.

tl/dr: whatever she thought she could do in the immediate moment, Leika has had almost a year to discover that it just won’t work. That’s why she sends for Argrath. It’s a last throw of the dice, after everything else has been tried and failed. Things really are that bad.

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18 hours ago, David Scott said:

The key for me is when does Argrath appear in Sartar and then when does Leika know about him. I'm unsure of his timeline.

Clearly the key moment is in 1627 where Argrath visits Queen Leika and is accepted into the Colymar tribe (KoS, Jalk's Book and History of Dragon Pass in the Glorantha sourcebook) then in 1627, he becomes Prince of Sartar. But the year before that?

Do the Colymar participate in retaking Alda Chur?

Black Spear covers all of this (non-canonically). I saw that the historical record had Argrath achieving almost* nothing between his Hender’s Ruins fiasco (Fire Season 1625) and the liberation of Alda-Chur (Fire Season 1627), and thought I’d make sure that he was having a nice time, at least. Jeff may have a different take in the White Bull Saga (streamed games aren’t my thing, sorry). Spoilers below:

Spoiler

In my story, Argrath’s been out of his skull on Count Belvani’s finest hazia for many months before Sea Season 1627, and Leika turns up with the Colymar army to meet him on Snakepipe’s Edge before the final battle. This all has zero canonicity, and YGWV. Link.

* Edited to add: "by the book" he is probably skirmishing around the gors and gallt of the Far Place, but that's a miserable way to spend the winter.

Edited by Nick Brooke
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14 hours ago, David Scott said:

I've just passed that point and Kallyr has been burnt, however he key for me is when does Argrath appear in Sartar and then when does Leika know about him. I'm unsure of his timeline.

The purple softcover edition didn't help with its obfuscation of dates, and the hardcover re-release just added more confusion in the Fazzur section.

 

14 hours ago, David Scott said:

Clearly the key moment is in 1627 where Argrath visits Queen Leika and is accepted into the Colymar tribe (KoS, Jalk's Book and History of Dragon Pass in the Glorantha sourcebook) then in 1627, he becomes Prince of Sartar. But the year before that?

Jalk's book (which makes the circuitous Karandoli claim rather than the obvious Orlmarth origin) acts out after the victory of Sword Hill. Without that achievement, Argrath from the Orlmarth clan still is the person who was exiled mere weeks after his initiation, and claiming that identity is not the best way to make a positive entry.

At the time of his visit with Leika, Argrath already has the approval of the Stormwalkers (and possibly of Londra of Londros).

 

14 hours ago, David Scott said:

Do the Colymar participate in retaking Alda Chur?

Not as a tribal warband, as far as I can tell. Individual veterans from Pennel Ford who had drifted off to Pavis, certainly yes.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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15 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

So I said, "sure, roll Orate". 02. Critical success on a "we need to choose a leader now" rant, when there is only one candidate for leader.

Ok, so Leika reluctantly calls a moot then and there to choose a leader. I roll on her Orate setting forth her claim and get a special success. So Leika is now acclaimed the logical choice for leader of Sartar. She sets off for Boldhome with Kallyr's body.

The problem is that Leika has no Sartar blood and can't light the Flame.  She knows this and is likely sweating about it.  She could try to cast a thunderbolt spell to light it, but people know the difference between a spell and actual Divine Intervention.  One does 3d6 damage, the other is a blinding and deafening cosmic affirmation that knocks the audience off their feet.

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20 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Ok, so Leika reluctantly calls a moot then and there to choose a leader. I roll on her Orate setting forth her claim and get a special success. So Leika is now acclaimed the logical choice for leader of Sartar. She sets off for Boldhome with Kallyr's body.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. It makes a lot of sense.

20 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

The outspoken Humakti duck now realizes what she's done and starts to back away from supporting Leika. She and Vishi persuade Harmast that he shouldn't throw his hat in with Leika either as that would split party loyalties, the player isn't too bothered either way as he has no personal loyalty to Leika either. Sure, he's loyal to her as tribal queen, but that doesn't mean he has to support a non-Sartar-descendent as prince.

That also makes some sense, the burning realisation of "Oh, whatever have I done?"

20 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Somehow I need to get this back on track. I don't think it will be too difficult, I initially considered having another faction come to the party to set them off on The Black Spear quest, but the spear is clearly Leika's and that would not work.

What do you mean "back on track"? Do you have a fixed and rigid agenda that Argrath needs to become Prince of Sartar? If so, surely that should happen organically rather than as a forced thing to fit in with later scenarios?

20 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Maybe Leika will come to realize over the next few seasons that she can't hold the position of prince. Maybe she will realize that she can't win without Argrath and so wants to get his arse over here and fight and have it out who is prince later. Maybe she's setting a trap for Argrath.

That could work. After all, Leika isn't of the House of Sartar, so a rival Prince might have a bet5ter claim to the throne. You could have two factions, one supporting Leika and one supporting the House of Sartar. The Sartar faction could then instigate the Black Spear scenario.

20 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Or I could just run Black Spear without the Black Spear. Some other Sartarite regalia item.

Unfortunately, I am banned from reading the Black Spear supplement, as we are playing in a Black Spear campaign at the moment, so I can't comment on the scenario.

If the scenario needs the Black Spear for the scenario to run, then it can come from Leika, or it can be given by people loyal to the Black Spear but not to Leika. This could work if Leika has proven herself unworthy to have the Black Spear.

4 hours ago, Darius West said:

The problem is that Leika has no Sartar blood and can't light the Flame.  She knows this and is likely sweating about it.  She could try to cast a thunderbolt spell to light it, but people know the difference between a spell and actual Divine Intervention.  One does 3d6 damage, the other is a blinding and deafening cosmic affirmation that knocks the audience off their feet.

There are ways around this. Leika could HeroQuest to be adopted into the House of Sartar, or to accepted by it. HeroQuests can change things like that.

Alternatively, Leika could found a new House, not necessarily connected with Sartar itself. This has happened many times in the past, when one ruling House is replaced by another.

 

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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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5 minutes ago, soltakss said:

What do you mean "back on track"? Do you have a fixed and rigid agenda that Argrath needs to become Prince of Sartar? If so, surely that should happen organically rather than as a forced thing to fit in with later scenarios?

 

The party don’t want to get involved in politics, and I won’t force them to. This incident was very much an aberration, one that the player regrets. So what happens next politically is really up to me. I know what the players and characters want, I know what fits in with what I want to do, so I need to make it happen.

I would rather let it happen in play but that’s not what the players want from a game. I suck at political narrative as well.

 

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OK: the simple answer is that Leika  can try to make it work, fail, and then kick off Act I. Only four of Sartar’s 24 tribes were present at the Battle of Queens, so even if they unanimously agreed on anything they’re a small fraction of the kingdom (and several of them have just been decapitated), and Leika is not and cannot become a descendent of Sartar. She can’t light the Flame in Boldhome (even the late unlamented Kallyr could make it fizzle, slightly). She can’t talk to her divine ancestor Sartar, because he isn’t her ancestor. It simply won’t work.

That, of course, happens off-stage and can be quickly explained in extra dialogue in Act I. Your players, meanwhile, can head off fighting chaos or exploring ancient ruins or something for the rest of 1626: there’s no reason for them to be closely associated with a tedious process that leads to an inevitable failure. They gave it their best shot: well done. If they don’t want to get involved in politics, my advice is not to spend much time thinking or talking about politics.

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On 8/29/2022 at 4:18 PM, Nick Brooke said:

OK: the simple answer is that Leika  can try to make it work, fail, and then kick off Act I.

Yeah, that's what I was thinking.

On 8/29/2022 at 4:18 PM, Nick Brooke said:

Your players, meanwhile, can head off fighting chaos or exploring ancient ruins or something for the rest of 1626:

I'm going to look out for an opportunity for Leika to bark out "Oh go explore an ancient ruin or something!" if the duck makes any more disruptive suggestions.

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

Yeah, that's what I was thinking.

I'm going to look out for an opportunity for Leika to bark out "Oh go explore an ancient ruin or something!" if the duck makes any more disruptive suggestions.

Thereby allowing it to "duck out" on any significant Leika involvement...

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On 8/29/2022 at 1:17 AM, PhilHibbs said:

A single random critical success in the Chaosium house campaign literally brought back an extinct species from the God Time into the universe. There are plenty of game worlds where that sort of thing doesn't happen. I like Glorantha the way it was played by the creators.

seems to me totally different : this critical was in the otherworld, not mundane. It shows something different, something ununderstandable happend because trigered (aka GM imagination)

 

however that doesn't mean you must let Argrath be accepted as the leader as the story says.

 

you may decide that more clans or tribes want to see Leika as leader and Argrath may have other diplomacy tools to use : marriage (?!), 2 kings  (cesaer + pompey), murder, bribe, magical duel, magical proof (the flame !)...

 

Or just clans/tribes accept that Leika lead them until they discover Argrath

After all, the critical roll just says," hey it is Leika or no one, so Leika !"

But in few weeks, the topic will be "hey is it Leika or Argrath ?"

 

And what will happen during these few weeks ? will Leika / and PC succeed or fail ? Will propaganda succeed or fail ?

 

 

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What if Leika does become the leader of Sartar, but not the prince? To use a Middle Earth analogy, what if the tribes (or enough of them) agree to proclaim her "steward" of Sartar. Sartar is then more unified to deal with internal strife and the return of Lunar forces (or so it seems from the outside.) The prospective reality is that her hold remains tenuous and begins to weaken as the tribes and clans that refuse to recognize her begin to cause problems. Civil war threatens. The Lunars begin preparations to return in force. The only hope is if Aragorn ... (er, I mean Argrath!) returns to Sartar to stake his rightful claim to the throne. And perhaps not all are convinced that he's the one that Sartar needs ... So, lots of room for politics, skullduggery, quests, and heroics! (and the established timeline still basically works.) The only question is how well Leika makes her mark in Sartarite history; how well she lays the groundwork for Sartar's place in the Hero Wars and how she deals with the coming of Argrath. And the PCs will could easily play a role in all of it. 

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On 9/1/2022 at 10:26 PM, Beoferret said:

To use a Middle Earth analogy, what if the tribes (or enough of them) agree to proclaim her "steward" of Sartar.

This is really the big IF though. 

The Colymar are large - therefore threaten the "independence" of most other tribes.  

The Colymar are NOT part of any city (and refused to help build or found one).  Could be a positive or a negative, but both Wilmskirk and Jonstown might be threatened by the possibility of the Colymar disrupting the trade along the Royal Roads.

The Malani, Locaem, and Lismelder have long-time feuds/rivalries with the Colymar.  The Sambari and Balkoth might as well.  Why would they aid Leika? 

The Culbrea helped defeat the Lunars at Auroch Hills.  Why would Ranulf submit to Leika when he might equally position himself as the heir to Kallyr?

When have the Colymar helped others?  Why would any of the other tribes agree to help Leika, particularly since she is not of the blood of Sartar?

On 9/1/2022 at 10:26 PM, Beoferret said:

The prospective reality is that her hold remains tenuous and begins to weaken as the tribes and clans that refuse to recognize her begin to cause problems. Civil war threatens.

The Colymar had some relations with the Cinsina (and Queen Ivartha), but Ivartha also dies at the Battle of the Queens.  They might still join with the Colymar in the face of threats from the Culbrea and the Telmori, but likely would require oaths from Leika to aid them against both.  And so begin the various oaths and requirements from one or another tribe that will prevent Leika from being recognized as a potential "steward" of Sartar.

 

 

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Sartar's strength was that he managed to unify disparate Orlanthi Clans/Tribes, by diplomacy or magical prowess.

Argrath's strength was that he managed to unify disparate Orlanthi Clans/Tribes, by diplomacy and force of arms.

Whoever would replace Sartar must do the same as Sartar did, or Argrath would have done, by unifying the disparate tribes/clans.

It is easy to say why the various clans would oppose them and why a certain person could not become Prince of Sartar. The trick is then what should they do to get around those objections.

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

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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