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Gloranthan Allegiances?


Mankcam

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I'm using BRP for an infrequent Gloranthan campaign, a carry-over from my AH RQ3 gaming of the late 80s/early 90s. Earlier this year I restarted using BRP, and I decided to use Glorantha 3rd Age again for the setting. I bought MRQ2 after I had already started my troupe off using BRP as the system, and I pillage MRQ2 rules where I can.

I'm just wondering if any other GMs have incorperated the BRP Allegiance rules for use with Gloranthan concepts or divinities? I am considering bringing it to my campaign, it worked well in Stormbringer, and I can see it has value in other settings - I'm flicking through 'Crusaders Of The Amber Coast' and seeing how well it works for the Christian Faith, so I figured it would work well in most settings.

I'm toying up whether I should create Allegiances for various concepts (eg: Law, Chaos, Neuatrality), or for all the individual Deities ( a mammoth task for Glorantha, even if only for one or two common pantheons. I'ld rename Allegiance as 'Devotion', 'Piety' or 'Pact', depending upon the Deity).

Another idea would be using the Runes as basis for Allegiance, perhaps renaming Allegiance as 'Affinity', which would provide some of the Gloranthan flavour from HeroQuest.

I'm leaning toward this later idea, as using Law, Neautrality, Chaos, although quite simple, would be too much like Stormbringer. Having individual Allegiances for every Deity would be very cumbersome to create, and quite difficult to manage during a session I believe.

Making Allegiances to Runes seems more appropriate to the setting, and would be less difficult to play. However the problem it poses would be if every action accrues Allegiance Points then characters would need a separate sheet with all the Gloranthan Runes listed on it to be able to record this (not desirable). Some other problems exist, for example, with all the bloodshed they could easily accrue Death Rune Affinity too quickly, for instance, making everyone go Humakti eventually.

If anyone has ideas on it I'ld like some input, especially if someone has already done the hard yards on this!

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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If you are doing it, do it right =)

Just go for affinities for each particular god, i don't think you need to actually write them down; pretty much everyone should KNOW (or else!) whatever drops or raises their affinity! Also, it makes for excelent "heroes", you get initiate, lord-priest-devotee and lord/priest-champion-whatever HQ called them at 3 distinct affinity levels!

"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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If you are doing it, do it right =)

YES! I concur! Use personality traits too!

http://glorantha.temppeli.org/digest/ndaily/1993.10/1867.html

In fact, there were entire threads over the years about using Traits and Passions (Allegiances). There was a more current and complete list of traits/deity, but of course I can't find it now.

SDLeary

[url=http://glorantha.temppeli.org/digest/ndaily/1993.10/1867.html]

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Yes, I came across that site a while ago, I forgot all about it actually. The bulk of the work seems to have been done, well, at least for some of the Cults. Unfortunately I'm using the 'HQ Blood Over Gold: Trader Princes of Maniria' sourcebook for the setting, so the Storm and Solar pantheons are not prominent in my current game, the pcs mainly follow the Malkoni Saints. But that's neither here nor there, that's just trappings really, I could easily work out Virtues for them, and I think HeroQuest lists the virtues for its cults, so that should port directly across.

The main stumbling block for having Allegiances to Deities would be the accumulation of too many Allegiance Points. In Stormbringer it was simple, there was only three Allegiances, and all pivotal actions fell within the realms of these three, and it was easy to determine which Allegiance was accrued. If I was to do this for Gloranthan Deities, there would be far too many to gain Allegiances with.

Perhaps I should go with the idea of Pendragon-like Virtues, that way regardless of theistic orientation the character's behaviour would dictate which Allegiance (Virtue) was gained. I did like how Greg Stafford did this in Pendragon, it was the main mechanic I liked in those rules (but I loved the content). My only issue is that this will be tweaking the character sheet in a major way, I really only wanted to add a few lines.

Passions and Virtues certainly were good for a setting based on chivalry, but I'm still considering that the Rune Affinities idea may have a more Gloranthan flavour. The Runes are more important than Deities, and are the building blocks of the universe, so I feel that they should fit into Allegiances in some way. I'ld like to see how it would work, or if anyone else has done it.

But the ideas from the Pendragon Pass pages certainly have merit, and I'm still sitting on the fence regarding which model I'll initiate for using Allegiances in Glorantha. Thank you for your advice so far, I appreciate all views.

cheers

Edited by Mankcam

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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I hate saints... They "theiced" sorcery... I want my sorceress as atheist as possible, if i wanted to do some fancy dances and hubba-hubbas i would have joined one of those pagan or heathen cults.

At least for my character, solace is not attained by grace of a god or saints, but by following a strict code of conduct that shapes reality enough so after death you become nothing instead of burning in hell (though there are pretty horses in hell). But don't get me started, or ill end up writing two pages about how sorcery spells are really nothing more than quantum mechanics equations given birth to reality by sheer power of will.

PS: i've 187% sword and an even higher spellcasting skill to convince any would-be inquisitors :P :P :P

"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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Gloranthan Sorcery is, by and large, religious in nature. You don't get many independant sorcerers and there are very few Sorcery Schools that don't have some kind of religious twist.

Sorcery seemed atheistic because RQ3 introduced Sorcery in a non-Gloranthan way.

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

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I must confess that I have become a bit of a RQ heretic myself - my original troupe had issues with the sorcery/malkioni thing years ago. To get around it I relabelled things somewhat for my current troupe - all specialist spell casters who learn through Cults are known as 'Priests' (with varied cult or local titles), whether they are theistic or using sorcery. Even the Malkioni Clergymen. I found it provided greater consistency and allowed the players to envison medieval friars and such for the Malkioni. The magic is different, but the players are more clear on the role.

In my setting, 'Sorcerer' is a term for rare independent practitioners of any magic type, and may have distrustful or heretical conoctations in many regions. In parts of Safelster and in Handra I have a few conclaves of educated semi-independent / atheistic magic practitioners, and they are known as Wizards. Most areas outside of here view this as heretical, a left-over from the Godlearner days.

It just seemed to work a bit easier for the Gloranthan newbies. Not sure if I'll tell them otherwise :-)

The reason I'm doing Malkioni is because I have a few players new to Glorantha, but old to other systems like D&D (ugh!). I found that Safelster, Maniria, and the Castle Coast are ideal places to introduce new troupes to Glorantha, especially if the players have been playing in more generic fantasy settings before, such as many provided by D&D, Rolemaster and such. The civilised areas are a little like medieval England, France, Italy, Portugal etc, so it fits the D&D mindset (and many D&D scenarios can be easily ported into it). It makes a good analogy for them to begin with.

The further they travel out of the Malkioni lands, the less 'generic' the settings become, the more authentic Gloranthan the campaign becomes.

But, back to topic - Allegiance ideas anyone?

Edited by Mankcam

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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Gianni Vacca´s excellent Celestial Empire not only states that ¨in Asia, magic and religion are inseparable¨, but it also lists 13 religious allegiances (drawn from real-world religions) and how to gain/lose allegiance points from each. I´ve only briefly played with Glorantha and RQ3 (the River of Cradles campaign) but I reckon you could do the same, maybe not for every cult and subcult, but for groups of deities like the Lunar Pantheon or the Praxian Storm gods or something. Maybe you could come up with particular allegiance rules for gods which your players actually follow too.

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Gloranthan Sorcery is, by and large, religious in nature. You don't get many independant sorcerers and there are very few Sorcery Schools that don't have some kind of religious twist.

Sorcery seemed atheistic because RQ3 introduced Sorcery in a non-Gloranthan way.

Yes, of course it is, but there i used to see it as if there was no tangible result from worship; the invisible god could be anything you want; a god ruling all over creation, just another god, nothing, etc. You prayed, and the "only" thing you got was spiritual comfort for you and your community...

Then sandy introduced saints (that worked as limited divine interventions) but you could still argue that it was the sorcerer himself doing the stuff; then came HQ, and now sorcerers have divine intervention (miracles) too, "proving" the existence of their god/saints, and giving physical proof of their existence.

Not having "proof" of god and having to actually have faith was a big thing for me (it's actually preety stupid not having "faith" in a pagan god, you see their powers, they give you stuff, you can even go and shake their hand; you don't need any faith, they just exist!)

So, i wouldn't have used allegiance for sorcerers, since on my classical gloranthan setting, there is notting you can actually "ally" to; the saints are ideas and the invisible god is way beyond that!

"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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Gloranthan Sorcery is, by and large, religious in nature. You don't get many independant sorcerers and there are very few Sorcery Schools that don't have some kind of religious twist.

Sorcery seemed atheistic because RQ3 introduced Sorcery in a non-Gloranthan way.

We frequently suffer from the "tyranny of labels," to steal one of my favorite quotes. You could easily define "religion" as just the particular view of ultimate reality, and that is particularly true when talking about fictional worlds in RPGs. Thinking that existence pulses with an infinite "dao" -- or what ever name you give it -- that is impersonal but that humans can tap to do work in the physical world is no less a view of ultimate reality than believing that there are personal beings of great power that one can tap to do work in the physical world.

In Glorantha, ultimate reality is defined to include runes, gods, and so forth. If you don't want to play in a setting with personal deities, that's fine, but you're not playing in the setting as it was conceived. And if you want to play a character in a setting with personal deities who has a disdain for personal deities, that is certainly an option, but he'd be a pretty weird guy in that world, I would think.

In a world where divine intervention and "magic" were frequently seen, people would behave much differently than in a world where those things are talked about but not seen (or not necessarily seen as what they are). If in a particular game world you have "real" consequences for certain behaviors, then a game mechanic that reflects that "reality" is just a way to get players to roleplay their characters in conformity with the world's reality. That is not really different from having a combat mechanic that makes players roleplay their characters in certain ways. (Like not attacking when heavily outnumbered or against extremely powerful creatures.) Whether you have a passion and trait mechanic or an allegiance mechanic, or something else, would not seem to matter as much as making sure the mechanic was pointing players in the direction of playing the characters according to the 'reality' of their world. In fact, if all the players played their characters scrupulously according to their chosen beliefs, you probably would not need any mechanic.

Edited by Smoking Frog

My avatar is the personal glyph of Siyaj K'ak' a.k.a. "Smoking Frog."

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You defined the Gloranthan setting quite well, its very much the case of a character's relationship to his alliances, be that to friends & allies, to the cult, to the runes, to a deity, to the community. These aspects become more obivious and more important during a long campaign, and this is what makes it a 'personal' setting and helps give it a different shine to that of many generic fantasy settings. Or you can just play it hack'n'slay ;)

If all players played scrupulously, then we probably wouldn't need combat mechanics either; everyone would just agree in accordance with what felt right with the narrative of the story! I'm read about rpg systems like this, although I don't know how it'ld pan out in practice. Most of us tend to like a few nuts'n'bolts mechanics to simulate the players behaviour in a rpg session. Allegiances falls under that banner.

I think the easiest solution is do a tweaked version of the Allegiance rules, and ally the Allegiances to Deities (also Saints and Great Spirits). Obiviously the characters would accrue Allegiance Points akin to the BRP rules for behaviour consistent with the virtues of that Deity. I think that it will be far too difficult to accrue Allegiance Points to opposing Deities for behaviour adverse to the character's Patron Deity. This concept works for a setting with only a few Allegiances available (ie: Good vs Evil; Law, Balance, Chaos; One Pantheon such as The Greek Gods, etc). Glorantha has a multitude of Pantheons, and literally hundreds of Deities with cross-over roles and virtues (I can't remember how many were in the Prospaedia Book from AH RQ3's 'Gods of Glorantha' box, not to mention all the HeroQuest sub-cults etc...). So gaining Allegiances with other Deities due to behaviour contary to your own Deity, yet pleasing to another, would be very difficult to manage during a game session.

I think if I bring Allegiances into my setting, I'll simply allow characters to accrue Allegiance Points for acting acccording to the Deity's virtues, and I'll deduct Allegiance Points for behaviour contary to those virtues - the more adverse the act, the greater the reduction in Allegiance Points (not to mention other narrative measures to portray the effects of contary or 'sinful' behaviour).

It's not canon for the Allegiance rules, but it may be the simpliest way to use Allegiances in this setting

Edited by Mankcam

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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PS: Icebrand, even in your setting you could still use Allegiances for aethistic sorcerers. They would simply be acting according to their belief system, be it Zistorism, Nihilism, or whatever. Allegiances can describe concepts and philosophies, and don't necessarily need to be allied to Deities and such. Or thats how I read it.

I do like your descriptions of aethistic sorcerers, that is similar to how I envision their views in my setting, except they are definately the minority in Western lands, with Malkioni Clergy being the majority of western sorcerers.

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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PS: Icebrand, even in your setting you could still use Allegiances for aethistic sorcerers. They would simply be acting according to their belief system, be it Zistorism, Nihilism, or whatever. Allegiances can describe concepts and philosophies, and don't necessarily need to be allied to Deities and such. Or thats how I read it.

I do like your descriptions of aethistic sorcerers, that is similar to how I envision their views in my setting, except they are definately the minority in Western lands, with Malkioni Clergy being the majority of western sorcerers.

Oh noes, that was the pov of *my* sorceress (black horse county, but kind of had to run away due to her husband being a real douche). Most malkionis in my settings do believe in god et all, thing is, as a gm, pre-heroquest, the invisible god didn't directly intervene, and akin to real life, no one could actually produce evidence of his existence (opposed to theists, that can call divine intervention, lose their powers if excommunicated, have heroquests, etc) :)

"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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Gianni Vacca´s excellent Celestial Empire not only states that ¨in Asia, magic and religion are inseparable¨, but it also lists 13 religious allegiances (drawn from real-world religions) and how to gain/lose allegiance points from each. I´ve only briefly played with Glorantha and RQ3 (the River of Cradles campaign) but I reckon you could do the same, maybe not for every cult and subcult, but for groups of deities like the Lunar Pantheon or the Praxian Storm gods or something. Maybe you could come up with particular allegiance rules for gods which your players actually follow too.

Thank you thank you :)

I would suggest Allegiances based on loose religious groupings: Storm allegiance, Solar allegiance, Malkioni allegiance, etc. These could or could not be linked to specific Runes, depending on your tastes. That would simply add colour IMHO -- the important mechanism is the allegiance mechanism itself.

PS-- As regards the other thread, the hijacked one (atheistic sorcerers v Malkioni sorcerers), there was a panel at Bacharach discussing this, and the outcome was that sorcerers should be really played as getting their spells from cold logic rather than prayer. I believe there will be something about this in an upcoming Moon Design product.

Edited by GianniVacca
typo
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Yes I think I'll go with Pantheon Allegiance to save time. I like how you did this with 'Celestial Empire', I actually like how you did most things with that setting actually, a fine product

Sorcery from Pure Logic? It'll work for my independent sorcerers in my Glorantha setting, as they study the lore accumulated from the God Learners. However, my Malkioni Clergyman will still have to say their prayers to the Saints. It'll bust my players' world to do so otherwise. I'll love to get my hands on the 'Men Of The West'(or whatever its called), Moon Design can't bring that out quick enough for me...

Thanks for everyone's input into this thread, it's given me some clarity

cheers

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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I think if I bring Allegiances into my setting, I'll simply allow characters to accrue Allegiance Points for acting acccording to the Deity's virtues, and I'll deduct Allegiance Points for behaviour contary to those virtues - the more adverse the act, the greater the reduction in Allegiance Points (not to mention other narrative measures to portray the effects of contary or 'sinful' behaviour).

Do you mean you'd do it like this...?

Award points for Allegiance to the standard Traits. Then calculate Allegiance to any religion by adding up it's specific Virtues.

That seems like a very neat way to do it. Especially considering that you don't need to record points for Traits that aren't really significant for that character - so the character sheet needn't get clogged up with all 13 standard Traits (or however many it is).

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Arrgh!!! Too much real-world stuff going on at present to get my head around these Allegiance rules.

I'll get back to it soon, feel free to discuss further (actually that would be helpful, it'll give me a clearer view of it when I get back to it). Thanks for all the advice so far.

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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Certainly. It just occurred to me that this way would be simple & generalized:

Award points for Allegiance to the standard Traits. Then calculate Allegiance to any religion by adding up it's specific Virtues.

There's only 13 standard Traits, and you wouldn't even have to use them all for every character. Any 'new' religions would slot-in easily just by defining their Virtues. Thoughts, anyone?

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Actually thats pretty much along the lines I was thinking, its pretty simple.

The only problem with Glorantha is that Deities within a Pantheon have quite different virtues, rather than a common virtue bonding them. You could do a one or two virtues per Culture, however, rather than Pantheon - ie: Theylans may have value Free-Spirit, Kralori impress Self-Restraint etc. But if its gets into the spiritual side of things then you can't really use Pantheons in Glorantha, but you could do it for particular Cults & Deities - no biggie to work out the important virtue for each Cult, as both RQ and HQ Cult descriptions have these in their write-ups.

But I definately won't be listing all the Personality Traits of importance on a character sheet, I'll have space for a few notable ones of the character's description - these may correlate to the Pendragon ones, or they could come up with new ones. If their personality traits encourage behaviour that is admired by their Cult, they'll gain Allegiances.

Or something like that, I'll have to look at it more closely, but it appears simple enough.

Now, if Lawrence Whitaker or Pete Nash is watching this thread - it may be food for thought to be included in RQ6! Shameless request on my part heh heh

Edited by Mankcam

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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But I definately won't be listing all the Personality Traits of importance on a character sheet, I'll have space for a few notable ones of the character's description...

Well quite. Only traits significant to the character earn their space on the char-sheet. Maybe three for their own personality, possibly a few more favoured by their deity/pantheon (just to remind them what their culture expects) - say just half-a-dozen total. Other traits can be assumed average. Point is, with just that, you'll know their 'Affinity' (it's not really Allegiance, until consciously declared) to any cult they encounter. Any. Without clogging-up their sheet too much, I hope...

Yes, RQ6. I wonder how much 'input' Mr Stafford will give, to make it compatible with His Glorantha...? He'd probably like Traits/Allegiances, since Pendragon is his. There may be trouble in other areas, though. Fingers crossed Pete & Loz ('The DM', henceforward) will have a sufficiently free rein...

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not sure if 'DM' is such a great title, heh heh, it reminds me too much of D&D's Dungeon Master title for GMS...(cringe!)

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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