Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
rust

Some Questions about Pavis and the River of Cradles

Recommended Posts

A short while ago I took a look at some of Moon Design's Gloranthan Classics,

and I am somewhat tempted to move one of my campaigns to (a version of)

Glorantha, preferably in a way which enables the characters to explore the re-

gion along the River of Cradles from Corflu to Pavis as foreigners who do not

need to have much "Glorantha Lore" skills to begin with.

The basic idea is that of a group of people, perhaps refugees, "from the South"

(not yet defined) who settle an island several days off the coast east of the

River of Cradles, and then try to establish friendly relations and especially tra-

de with the people of the river valley, up to and including Pavis.

Unfortunately I have left Glorantha a long while ago, and have forgotten most

of what I knew about the setting, so I am not sure how to handle that idea

in true "Gloranthan Style", especially since the players would prefer low magic

(no cults for their characters) and would also prefer to delete some of the mo-

re weird races (ducks, morokanth, etc.) from the setting.

So please let me know your ideas and opinions on this campaign idea, for exam-

ple which of the region's people and factions the foreigners from the sea would

most probably have to deal with, who would be their likely friends and enemies,

and whatever else might prove helpful for such a campaign - every advice is

most welcome.

By the way, this is the island in question, Kerumar:

post-246-140468075023_thumb.png

Edited by rust

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First thing to remember is YGMV - Your Glorantha May Vary, coined by Greg because it most certainly will, as you will never be able to catch up with his gregging! O:)

Introducing the players as refugees or travellers from a far-distant land is probably a very common approach to Glorantha. Well it has been for me because I've only ever met one gamer in the flesh who knew more about Glorantha than I and I know very little. My first Glorantha campaign was run with characters converted from a long-running D&D game, and I've dropped Traveller players into Skyfall Lake before (not from the OTU, but a crazier Stanislaw Lem-inspired universe).

Perhaps your refugees could be pseudo-Chinese from or pseudo-Japanese from the east, or pseudo-south-esstern European from the far West, or pseudo-African fro Pamaltela - any distant society which basically has no contact with Prax or Dragon Pass or the Lunar Empire. Thus the players don't need to know anything about their new home and not a lot about their old one. Being cut off from their culture they don't have to worry about being cultists.

I'm not sure I would go the way of the island off the coast, though, as Pavis and the River of Cradles is full of refugees anyway. You may as well start the PCs off in Pavis itself, and you are ready to roll using the campaign as written. Pavis itself is a bit of a microcosm and a very easy way of introducing the main themes of Glorantha without going off the deep end. That would be my preferred option.

Alternatively, you could always go the RQ3 Griffin Island route, which gives you a completely self-contained setting.

On the other hand, knowing your proclivity for setting building perhaps you want to create your own bit of the world, in which case I can see where your island is coming from. Maybe one way to handle this is to slightly revise known geography and make your island the location of Corflu, pushing it away from the river delta and those nasty swamps. Corflu is also a hotbed of intrigue, and it could make an interesting sort of proto-Venice from which you players can 'explore' deeper into Prax.

I sympathise with your players' dislike of certain elements like ducks (I don't want to derail the thread with another duck debate, but suffice to say that the first thing I did when I got my RQ3 books was to Tippex out every instance of 'duck' and replace it with 'goblin', and everyone was much happier). Jack O'bears have never done it for me, either. On the other hand, I quite like the morokanth and have run some very uncomfortable games with them, and people seem to be generally accepting of walktapi. Still, I have found that Glorantha works best if you're ruthless with the bits that strain your suspension of disbelief, either by excising those bits completely or taking away the thing that makes them 'silly'.

Finally, don't forget that if you're short of the old RQ2 rulebooks, provide your players with the D100II SRD. ;)

Edited by Vile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much indeed. :)

The main reason for the island is that I would like to use the rules from Runequest

Empires' "Building a Kingdom" chapter to give the characters' new homeland a dyna-

mic history as a developing realm, with local politics and conflicts and potential lea-

dership positions for the characters, and that I prefer to design the landscape of

that realm myself, because this helps me to better understand what the most plau-

sible direction of the development should be.

For example, with a newly settled island I can assume that the craftsmen will be-

gin to search for good sources of stone and metal in the mountains, the fishermen

will want a port and a boatyard, the farmers will begin to clear some land, and Lord

Kerum will think of a manor, if not a small castle - and since I designed the island,

I know who is likely to do what at which location, and to which conflicts it is likely

to lead.

Corflu is also a hotbed of intrigue, and it could make an interesting sort of proto-Venice ...

I seem to have missed that information, could you please tell me where I can find it ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I seem to have missed that information, could you please tell me where I can find it ?

River of Craddles from Avalon Hill. Some copies are still floating around in print, electronic versions are so far only found at p2p sites.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think of the Zola Fel River akin to The Nile River, with fertile lands along its banks, with arid plains either side, and a desert as well.

The Nomad Peoples are a cross between Plains Indians and Huns, with a few fantasy tropes thrown in. Several settled peoples also exist. The Major Settlements of the region are:

1. New Pavis - I use biblical Jerusalem as a visual analogy, and I feel the Pavic peoples are a bit Yiddish in some ways. Heaps of other ethnic groups live in the city, such as the Heortlings (Celtic-Gaulish types), Sun Domers (Spartan types), and a Lunar Imperial garrison is here (Roman-Phonecian types). The city is built alongside the ruins of the ancient city-state of Old Pavis ('The Big Rubble') and heaps of adventuring opportunities about here.

2. Sun Country - This is the region of the Sun Dome Templars, which I use Spartans as a visual analogy.

3. The Grantlands - Scattered Pioneers primarily from Lunar origin, although some Heortlings as well.

4. The Port of Corflu - A small but bustling settlement on an island in the treacherous swamps of the Zola Fel delta. Quite an important location, being a trade hub for the region. The settlement is governed by the Corflu Trade Alliance, a joint agreement with the hereditary rulers (Torkazzi Family) and the Lunar Empire. Locals are both urban and regional Riverfolk, and there are a small number of Lunar Imperial soldiers stationed here as an outpost to protect the interests of Lunar merchants.

If another island exists in the oceans to the east of the Zola Fel delta, then they surely will have traders in Corflu. Perhaps Lunar explorers have made their way to the island and are settling it in the name of the Lunar Empire?

You need to get your hands on a copy of the RQ3 setting book called 'The River of Cradles', as it provides a broad overview on the region quite well, well enough to sandbox the setting. It has been long out of print since the early 1990s, but you can often find reasonable copies of the book on eBay.

(ADDIT: Aarrgh! I see Trifletraxtor just beat me to it with recommending River of Cradles!)

Edited by Mankcam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could also make their home area part of the East Isles. A bit further away than "a few days" from the Zola Fel, but an area that is much more varied in cultures and religious outlooks than the rest of Glorantha. Just about each island has its own culture and faith, or at least thats the way I've heard it related. The only major "culture" there being the island of Vormain, a rough Japanese/Korean analog.

SDLeary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all very much for your informations and ideas. :)

Men of the Sea was within reach, I will be able to use the material. River of

Cradles, however, seems very difficult to get, so I will have to come up with

my own detailed description of Corflu, based upon the informations from Pa-

vis and Borderlands.

What I have at the moment are 280 refugees from an island off the northern

coast of Pamaltela. Led by their hereditary leader Lord Avar Kerum, the sorce-

rer Malas Ferigim and the scholar Tornu Parelem they sail north to an uninha-

bited island discovered some years ago by the explorer Pardin Yaretim, who

serves as the captain of Lord Kerum's ship during this voyage into exile. On

their five ships the refugees bring plants and seeds, animals like chicken and

sheep, tools and various other equipment to their new homeland. Once they

have established their settlement on the island, which they intend to name

Kerumar in honour of their leader, they will send a first ship to the coast in

the north to search for a place to trade, because they urgently need some

things the crowded ships could not carry, for example oxen to plough their

new fields.

However, the first adventure will probably be the discovery of some ruins on

Kerumar Island, ruins of a settlement on the coast and a kind of temple near

the mountains, and this discovery may lead to an explanation why such a ni-

ce and fertile island is uninhabited ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Ducks get no love!

Well, not really ... =O

Meanwhile I have made a few more notes about the refugees. With a new

homeland they will also want a new name, and I think they will call them-

selves the Keru, it seems to be a fitting name for the followers of the noble

family of Kerum and inhabitants of Kerumar island.

I have also decided that they will not worship any deities, in their view all

the deities are temporary creations of their believers and exists only as long

as they are worshipped, and creatures who depend on humans may be po-

werful, but they are not worthy of worship.

This means that I will have to design some kind of philosophy to take a reli-

gion's place in Keru culture, and I think I will take a look at the real world's

Far East for this.

The Keru use magic sparingly, and prefer nonmagical methods wherever pos-

sible. They use some Common Magic spells, and they have a few sorcerers

who know useful spells related to the sea, like Call Wind, Calm Sea or Strong

Boat (which I still have to design).

The cultural weapon of the Keru is the spear, used without a shield much li-

ke a quarterstaff with a blade at one end. The dagger and the bow are also

common weapons.

To give the culture a consistent feeling I have also worked a little on the Ke-

ru language. The family names of nobles have two syllables, all other family

names have three syllables, the family names of males end with an "m", the

family names of women with an "n". Hela Kerun would be a female member

of the noble Kerum family, Nurad Yavenim a male commoner.

And the Keru have also got a symbol or coat of arms, a simple one since I

see them as a somewhat simple culture:

post-246-140468075027_thumb.png

Edited by rust

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Men of the Sea was within reach, I will be able to use the material. River of

Cradles, however, seems very difficult to get, so I will have to come up with

my own detailed description of Corflu, based upon the informations from Pa-

vis and Borderlands.

I ran a successful campaign based on River of Cradles where I basically plucked the whole region from Glorantha and put it in Nehwon (Greg that!). To me it was just a great campaign setting begging to be used, and I didn't care to use the rest of Glorantha. Plus I've been running games in Nehwon for twenty years and didn't want to change venues.

I blogged about the experience here:

http://scrollsoflankhmar.com/blog_archive/2010/08/15/challenges-of-using-runequest-glorantha-adventures-in-a-nehwon-setting/

and the campaign notes are here:

http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/nehwon/wikis/troubled-waters-campaign-sessions

Edited by Questbird
fixed a link

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can read French, you may like to have a look at this amateur RPG "Légendes Tahitiennes" there : Légendes Tahitiennes - Légendes

It's free, rules (a kind of d100 but with d20) and setting can be downloaded as pdf. I haven't read it, but it may be a source of inspiration for your setting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Three-Step Island is just off the coast of Corflu, which puts it about where you need your island to be. It is a Wolf Pirate base in this part of the Third Age, but you could change that. The Wolf Pirates are raiding various places along the coast right now and might raid/have a base on your island.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'ld place the Isle of the Keru just below Three-Step Island, and I'ld make up a flimsy reason why it isn't on the map. Perhaps it has been magically concealed and isolated (much like what The Syndics Ban did for parts of Western Genertela). By the end of the Third Age many things are changing again in Glorantha, so perhaps the magic mists (or whatever) are lifting, making sea travel possible, and opening the island up to new cultures.

This would allow for a sandbox setting, and it would be in keeping with the Gloranthan flavour. I reckon even 'Greg' would of approve of that!

Edited by Mankcam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all very much for the informations. :)

Three-Step Island is just off the coast of Corflu, which puts it about where you need your island to be. It is a Wolf Pirate base in this part of the Third Age, but you could change that. The Wolf Pirates are raiding various places along the coast right now and might raid/have a base on your island.

This fits in perfectly with my ideas for the setting. ;D

I have decided to give the refugees a little evidence of the reason for the

disappearance of the previous inhabitants of the island.

The ruined village on the mouth of the eastern river, now named Ture-

la River, and the cemetery near the village give the impression that this

village once had between 100 and 200 inhabitants. They probably left in

great haste, because their everyday goods like pots and knives are still to

be found in the ruins, only any obvious valuables seem to be missing. The

adobe and wood buildings of the village have not been damaged by fire,

and there are no signs of a fight – no skeletons in the buildings or on the

streets.

I wonder what conclusions the characters will draw from this, the real sto-

ry is that the villagers became the victims of a surprise attack by pirates,

who rounded up the villagers to sell them as slaves, took what few valuab-

les the villagers had, and sailed off. The remnants of the village are meant

as a warning to the characters that the seas around their island and the is-

land itself are not safe, and that they should think of preparations to de-

fend their new settlement.

So I will move the refugees' island a little to the southeast, and Three-Step

Island becomes the base of those pirates, and a permanent source of dan-

ger for the refugees.

Edit.:

This would put Kerumar Island approximately here, ca. 550 kilometers south-

east of the mouth of the Zola Fel:

post-246-14046807503_thumb.png

Edited by rust

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must say I'm getting quite excited at the thought of rust going all world-builder on the bottom of Genertela, there. bounce.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must say I'm getting quite excited at the thought of rust going all world-builder on the bottom of Genertela, there. bounce.gif

Well, thank you very much. :)

While I originally intended to use Mongoose Runequest II / Legend for this

setting, I have now had second thoughts and will use my usual houseruled

version of BRP instead, I think it captures the feeling I want for this cam-

paign better.

The first trade voyage of the Keru to the northern coast and Corflu suffers

from the problem that the refugees have little silver and no trade goods to

offer. However, they came to Kerumar Island with five merchant ships, and

Lord Avar Kerum decided that he will keep only the best one of these ships,

and only until a smaller and faster replacement can be built. The wood of

three of the other ships will be used to build a couple of fishing boats and

for the construction of the refugee's first settlement, and the refugees will

attempt to sell the last ship at Corflu. The normal price of such a ship would

be ca. 20,000 Silver Pieces, and Lord Kerum hopes to sell the ship for half of

it, and to buy some oxen and pigs and some equipment and supplies at Cor-

flu with this silver. He will probably also have to hire someone to teach the

Keru the Tradetalk language and to give them some informations on their

new neighbourhood.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The most important nonplayer character of the early part of the campaign

will doubtless be Lord Avar Kerum, and so I tried to find out what his inten-

tions could be like.

He will certainly want to be accepted as the sovereign ruler of Kerumar Is-

land, but at the same time will also want to keep the location of the island

and the low number of his subjects secret as long as possible in order to

avoid a subjugation by the Lunar Empire, the strongest power of the region.

The other power he will be afraid of are the Wolf Pirates. They know where

the island is, although probably not yet that the Keru have settled there,

and Lord Kerum can only hope that the planned settlement and its defences

are ready when the Wolf Pirates learn about the Keru's presence on the is-

land.

He will also want friendly relations with potential allies, and once he has ga-

thered a few more informations about the situation in the north he will pro-

bably see the Corflu Trade Alliance in Corflu and the Ingilli Family and the In-

gilli Riverside Association in Pavis as suitable trading partners and potential

allies.

Another little thing I have worked on is Lord Kerum's plan for the settlement.

On this first draft of the map 1 is House Kerum, 2 is the House of the Coun-

cil, 3 is the Market Place, 4 is the Craftsmen's Court:

post-246-140468075044_thumb.png

Edited by rust

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an idea: since the refugees have to build a new country where old traditions and inerties may be losen, some of them may want to change the social order as well. If they have to fight and risk their life for the defense of the island, non-nobles, who are probably the majority, may want to have their share of the power and the decisions. And the trade with Corflu may create a class of rich non nobles wanting as well their share of the power. See what hapened in Rome or in Athen, or with some extend in China. It will change from the traditional western aristocratic social order and may give a long-term motivation for players. How will deal Lord Kerum with these new changes ? What will be the reactions of nobles wanting to keep their privileges ? Will the poorest ally with the rich against the nobles ? Or the rich with the nobles against the poors ?

By teh way, among the Kerus, is the nobility hereditary or based on merit or on any other criterium ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an idea: since the refugees have to build a new country where old traditions and inerties may be losen, some of them may want to change the social order as well.

Yes, and I think this will be a possible task for the player characters. They are

very likely to become something like "local heroes" quite early in the campaign,

and therefore get into a position where they can either support or challenge the

existing social order.

By teh way, among the Kerus, is the nobility hereditary or based on merit or on any other criterium ?

The nobility of the Keru's homeland in Pamaltela was hereditary, but since they

decided to make a new start in a new land this may well change. I suspect that

the players will prefer to keep a nobility, mainly because this is also the social or-

der of their neighbours and therefore likely to be accepted by them, but I could

well imagine that a future nobility of the Keru could be based on merit instead of

birth.

The main obstacle to this would be the Keru's philosophy, a belief in the cycle of

rebirth, where what one does for one's people in this life also determines the sta-

tus in the next life, which should result in the idea that the nobles are born noble

because they did great deeds for their people in the last life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The work on the Kerumar setting is progressing rather slowly, there is such

a lot of source material to read and digest, and unfortunately this material

is not free of confusing contradictions.

Slavery is one of those confusing subjects. It seems that slavery is rather

common in Genertela, the very interesting PDF on Trade in Glorantha by Ge-

rald Bosch I found on the Internet also gives some details concerning slave-

ry and the slave trade in Glorantha - but no source mentions the price of

a slave. A character can buy dozens and dozens of types of weapons and

armour in different versions with different prices, but he cannot buy a sla-

ve ... ah, well, another thing to handwave.

Looking at the neighbourhood of Kerumar Island, I think the borders of the

region likely to be explored by the Keru will be the valley of the Zola Fel in

the northwest and the island of Melib in the east. Once the Keru have lear-

ned that the Threestep Islands are the home of pirates, they will probably

decide not to sail west of Corflu, and Teshnos and Melib Island are far en-

ough in the east to become the border of the Keru's voyages in that direc-

tion. Most of the coastline north of Kerumar Island belongs to the so called

Bleak Shore of the Wastes, and from the sources I could find it seems that

there is not much to see or do there (unless I design it myself). The east,

Teshnos and Melib, will probably not be visited by the Keru during the early

parts of the campaign, so I have a little more time to read up on the situa-

tion there.

Apart from that I have made some more notes on the culture of the Keru,

for example what their buildings are made of (adobe and wood, only rarely

stone), what their clothes are like (usually cotton, in winter wool, prefer-

red colours white and blue), what they eat (fish, of course, and lamb, plus

vegetables and a little grain), which musical instruments they play (flute

and drum, mostly), when they are considered adults (at sixteen) and marry

(usually before their twentieth birthday), and how long they live (women

rarely get older than 75 years, men rarely get older than 70 years) - and

so on, from government to gender roles.

And now it is back to the available sources, to see whether this is compa-

tible with the existing material on Glorantha, and where I may have to ma-

ke adaptations (or can borrow additional ideas).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the "missing links" of the Kerumar setting was a map of Corflu, which

will probably become the port most often visited by the Keru, both for trade

in Corflu itself and as a first stop on the voyage along the Zola Fel to Pavis.

There was a very basic little map of Corflu in the Pavis supplement, which I

used as the inspiration for a more detailed one with a few minor changes to

adapt the town to my ideas for the Kerumar setting.

Here is the first draft of this map of Corflu:

post-246-14046807505_thumb.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With the Corfu map out of the way for the moment, the next thing to

work on will be the first introductory adventure, which will explain the

culture of the Keru and cover the arrival on the island and the explora-

tion of the island.

Apart from the ruined village and small temple already mentioned in an

earlier post, there will also be even older traces of previous inhabitants

of the island, a cave with cave paintings in the Merapar Mountains in

the north of the island.

My current idea is to use the cave paintings as a kind of ancient trea-

sure map leading to some item(s) which is/are valuable enough to barter

or trade it/them at Corflu for something useful, but at the moment I do

not yet have a convincing idea what the ancient item(s) could be or do.

Since the characters will be the ones who (hopefully ...) find the item(s),

it will be their task to accompany the first trade voyage to Corflu to sell

the item(s) there, which will lead to the second adventure, the first en-

counter with the culture of Genertela.

The things I want to highlight in that second adventure are the Lunar Em-

pire's control of the region and the role of the religions and their cults in

the society of Genertela, and the two nonhuman races I intend to use for

encounters in this adventure are the Baboons and the Newtlings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My current idea is to use the cave paintings as a kind of ancient treasure map leading to some item(s) which is/are valuable enough to barter or trade it/them at Corflu for something useful, but at the moment I do not yet have a convincing idea what the ancient item(s) could be or do.
An iron meteorite, now buried in an ancient tomb?

Remember though that Glorantha has only has 1600 years or so 'since time began' - so even an ancient, primitive culture is going to leave quite a lot of traces.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×