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Weaving together campaign threads and initiations (While stealing from Princess Mononoke)


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So I’m a couple of sessions into my first RQ:G game, having a great time! Love all my player characters and they’re very much enjoying! What I was wanted to ask about is some help weaving together long term ideas and plans.

My aim of this game is to explore Tribal (more so than clan) and cult affairs in the Far Place of Sartar after failed rebellions and during Lunar occupation (around 1615).

My characters are a Heler initiate (Priest), an Orlanth Thunderous initiate (farmer and Barntar subcult) and three lay members hoping to initiate into Babs Gor (Noble), Humakt (Aspiring warrior) and Storm Bull (Bandit turned assistant shaman).

 

So my queries are two fold: firstly the overall arc of the campaign. I’m running it on a seasonal basis. We’re in Sea season so I’ve just run the very watery Bog Struggles from the JC. I want this first year of game time to be all about learning about clan and tribal life and earning a place in the community. So anyone know any Fire season appropriate adventures? (I’m aware there is the fires in Jonstown adventure in the Starter set but that seems very long winded).

My only other plot thread for the first year is ripping of the great Princess Mononoke: the local city Rex has been looting Mostali ruins to hunt for iron to use in driving back the forests and elves of the area. Anyone got any ideas on how to implement this? Any threads etc? I’d love to have a big boar attack (local animals are being frenzied by the pollution) and introduce an iron ball (maybe an heirloom for my Humakti?) Could I somehow repurpose the Defending Apple Lane scenario for this?

 

Secondly initiations: we’ve just had the Orlanth one and I’m wondering where to go next. I could wait until High Holy days but that would mean some players are waiting a long time. Sea Season could be a good time to get more in. Humakt and Babs have an interesting parallel, both with links to a certain trickster, so running both in the same session is an idea.

What are peoples thoughts on giving quests to prove themselves to the cult first or just allowing the players to initiate and get the Cult goodies?

A lot of questions here I realise but I’m interested in any thoughts and advice anyone can offer!

 

 

Edited by Super Thunder Bros.
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15 minutes ago, Super Thunder Bros. said:

What are peoples thoughts on giving quests to prove themselves to the cult first or just allowing the players to initiate and get the goodies?

I would say that this depends on your group a lot. Would it be fun to play? Would your players enjoy it? Would they feel unfairly treated compared to other people who are already initiated? There is no right or wrong here. Don't wait for the high holy day though, no need for that. Better get this done early!

17 minutes ago, Super Thunder Bros. said:

Could I somehow repurpose the Defending Apple Lane scenario for this?

I can absolutely see that! It is a really fun scenario. I had a blast when we played it. And if the players have no nostalgic connection to Apple Lane as a village in a specific place now fallen on hard times, a lot of that could just be moved and adjusted elsewhere.

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1 hour ago, Super Thunder Bros. said:

My only other plot thread for the first year is ripping of the great Princess Mononoke: the local city Rex has been looting Mostali ruins to hunt for iron to use in driving back the forests and elves of the area. Anyone got any ideas on how to implement this? Any threads etc? I’d love to have a big boar attack (local animals are being frenzied by the pollution) and introduce an iron ball (maybe an heirloom for my Humakti?) Could I somehow repurpose the Defending Apple Lane scenario for this?

There is a big mythical iron object in the southern part of the Far Place: the Ironspike, at the junction of the Alda-Chur and the Alone roads to Dangerford. While rather monolithic, there might be semi-corroded material lying around. Unless my memory plays tricks with me, the iron spike is the spear tip of Korang the Slayer, embedded in the dead body of Hard Earth, one of the nine companions of Sky River Titan (Engizi) in the Skyfall myth. As such, it carries a particularly virulent Death association.

Tusk Riders aren't the most sympathetic guardians of the wild. Typically they would be part and parcel of such a scheme that causes harm to numerous others. The Aramites have a history both of worshipping divine pigs and of slaying them using rather evil Darkness magics, then binding their spirits.

A twin brother of Redeye from the Colymar Book would be the stand-in for Mononoke's adversary, in the process of being poisoned and devoured by the Darkness magic, but possibly escaped from the sacrificial altar where an overly vicious and ambitious Rune Lord of the Bloody Tusk might have wished to bind it. Or maybe that Tusk Rider leader has been polluted himself (or herself), too. Maybe some of the essence of Korang has been freed as scrap metal was carried away from the Iron Spike? This might have interfered with the sacrifice. Possibly that leader now rides Redeye, possibly with a mahout while using his back as a war platform?

You could have Mononoke-like veils of Darkness emanating from the infected boar and tusk rider. The boar might spread something similar to the Danfive Xaron spell Agony in its surroundings, preferrably not quite as incapacitating but still very bad to those who enter the area of effect without protective talismans (say a personal Ball of Tails, but other such non-altruistic magic like an enchanted Duck Bill could work, too).

 

Pegasus Plateau offers two adventures in the region, too, both with bad things in the forest -

Spoiler

Brangbane and the mad dryad.

Both could be connected to the larger plot.

 

The Far Place will still see Lunar occupation (or "liberation") forces in the tribal confederation cities after the Dragonrise, and Lunar agents from various factions could interfere - some noble, others sinister. My usual use of Lunars was to make some of them villains and others rather helpful (even when on an agenda that might ultimately be hurtful to the agenda of the player character faction).

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Posted (edited)

Ah @Joerg you’ve struck gold (or rather iron there). Certainly threads I can pull on.

I’m hoping to utilise the skeleton of the Apple Lane scenario around the harvest time: Tusk Riders are desperately trying to feed said monstrosity and are now raiding food stores.

Throwing Redeye at my players now would lead to a stomping. Wondering what I can throw at them early to hint at the wider plot?

Edited by Super Thunder Bros.
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Posted (edited)

Oh I’ll also add I had the idea of introducing Dwarves early.

Really like the idea of abandoned Mostali sites have been disturbed and the security has been reactivated. Therefore you have automated defences pelting wildlife with iron musket balls etc.

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6 minutes ago, Super Thunder Bros. said:

Throwing Redeye at my players now would lead to a stomping. Wondering what I can throw at them early to hunt at the wider plot?

LIke in Mononoke, you can start with lesser, likewise agonized critters showing up, possibly leading back to an altar not too far from your target village where your head antagonist experiments with this new way to spread harm. Possibly one of the Tusk Riders (the previous alpha?) and their boar being infected as the new alpha takes over with that new magic.

 

Why iron musket balls? If you need to fight plants from outside of their melee range, fire or caustic mining sewage have been proven means to clear the path. Elf snipers probably out-distance your muskets, whether automatic or not, and iron-rimmed flywheels as in Indiana Jones III would do well against both aldryami and trolls.

Mostali sites that had to go without maintenance (or at least more maintenance than the now almost powered out nilmergs can provide) could be anything - e.g. a pumping station draining some deeper tunnel, possibly pumping some weird sludge with even weirder critters inside that only gorp or trollkin could stomach.

There might be Mostali tunnels for messenger nilmergs or for larger transports, now thoroughly filled up and partially torn apart by tree roots.

The player heroes might run across feral cave oxen that were abandoned when their dwarf overseers and human Cannon Cult attendants fell prey to some hostile incursion - possibly ghouls not interested in animal bodies. There might be a defective cannon lying around, or what a gobbler sent after it left behind before it exploded.

Edited by Joerg
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  • Super Thunder Bros. changed the title to Weaving together campaign threads and initiations (While stealing from Princess Mononoke)
18 hours ago, Joerg said:

LIke in Mononoke, you can start with lesser, likewise agonized critters showing up, possibly leading back to an altar not too far from your target village where your head antagonist experiments with this new way to spread harm. Possibly one of the Tusk Riders (the previous alpha?) and their boar being infected as the new alpha takes over with that new magic.

Thanks again Joerg. Just so I can check this cool sounding scenario; Village gets attacked by agonized beast/s, party follow the trail back to the remains of an altar where a remaining Tusk Rider and Tusker await?

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13 minutes ago, Super Thunder Bros. said:

Thanks again Joerg. Just so I can check this cool sounding scenario; Village gets attacked by agonized beast/s, party follow the trail back to the remains of an altar where a remaining Tusk Rider and Tusker await?

Following the trail back might have some other moments - at the very least, there might be some (non-infected) beast cadavers mutilated by the attacker(s). Maybe one or two beasts still alive.

The tusk rider and his mount  might still be restrained or held by some magic, ready to be released on the village. If captured alive, something would have to be done about his curse if people wish to interrogate him. Possibly inside some cave or earth cellar the player characters start to investigate, freeing him?

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Regarding the Princess Mononoke frenzied wild boar attacking a village ... I also used that. It worked well. One of the adventurers who fought the boar ended up with a very strong arm but also got a related chaos taint that was eventually removed. The taint could be removed by drinking the water from a certain sacred pool inside the Stinking Forest. Naturally the arm returned to normal.

Separately there's a new adventure on Jonstown called "Skull Ruins - Tusk Riders need Blood" which involves a frenzied boar as the main plot line. It is a really good adventure so worth checking out. It's written by @RicKaySi who may want to chip in with some thoughts.

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21 minutes ago, Super Thunder Bros. said:

@Peter HartDope! I’d love to hear more like did you use a Tusker’s stats etc?

iirc I did use a tusker's stats but modified by a chaos feature giving it a tentacle attack. It was about 5 years ago in my RQ2 campaign and I can't find the stats, but should definitely be a particularly large, strong and tough one. Technically it was not actually the Stinking Forest where I ran the adventure but on the edge of a forest called the Wild Child Woods just to the north of Ryzel (not canon). The forest is a chaos nest. The pool was called "the Fountain of Eternal Death" and was the lair of a ghoul queen. Although the adventurer with the chaos taint was cured, another of the adventurers was charmed by the ghoul queen, who it turned out was actually under a curse.

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10 hours ago, Peter Hart said:

Separately there's a new adventure on Jonstown called "Skull Ruins - Tusk Riders need Blood" which involves a frenzied boar as the main plot line. It is a really good adventure so worth checking out. It's written by @RicKaySi who may want to chip in with some thoughts.

Thanks Peter! I agree Tusk Riders Need Blood would be a good fit for this campaign. One intersection with your ideas @Super Thunder Bros. could be Penjurlhi, the titular “Tusk Rider Who Needs Blood”. The main Adventure in the book is centred around using him as an intelligence asset, he’s been feeding the Colymars useful information from his perspective as one of Dragon Pass’ indigenous forest-dwellers. You could have him in your adventure as knowing important information about the corruption but won’t divulge until the party helps him solve his Boar’s frenzy problem.

I love Princess Mononoke, I hadn’t thought about it before but Penjurlhi the Tusk Rider has surface similarities to Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke. He is an exile who comes from a low-metal use, unique animal riding culture that is largely forgotten about by the wider country – so should contribute nicely to the theme you’re going for.

Also, if you want to have Tusk Riders as forest guardians TRNB actually does feature rules for that. The cult of the Guardian-Ghost Sawtooth Korvan. Korvan himself has stats so you could include him as mentor/ally in the fight to stop the pollution.

If you’re interested in alternate takes on Korvan I started a discussion thread on him here that also had some great takes by other writers here on BRP.

 

Link to the Adventure here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/482306/Skull-Ruins-Tusk-Riders-Need-Blood?affiliate_id=4274120 

But if this adventure isn’t what you’re looking for I have some other recommendations:
 

On 6/11/2024 at 10:45 AM, Super Thunder Bros. said:

My aim of this game is to explore Tribal (more so than clan) and cult affairs in the Far Place of Sartar after failed rebellions and during Lunar occupation (around 1615).

For Lore around this area I can’t recommend the Red Cow campaign enough, aka. The Coming Storm and The Eleven Lights . I think you might have to buy them second-hand; I don’t know if Chaosium is still selling them direct. These books cover the Far Place tribes in so much detail it could really help you create backgrounds for your NPCs. There’s rivalries, intermarriages, blood feuds, raids and attempts to steal magical secrets on par with any real world Norse sagas.

On 6/11/2024 at 10:45 AM, Super Thunder Bros. said:

I’d love to have a big boar attack (local animals are being frenzied by the pollution) and introduce an iron ball (maybe an heirloom for my Humakti?) Could I somehow repurpose the Defending Apple Lane scenario for this?

Defending Apple Lane is a great scenario. To incorporate into your campaign, you could have your characters on a tour of Sartar’s greatest Earth Temples, looking for answers to the source of the pollution ruining the north. The Great Temple at Greenstone had no answers so they’re travelling to Clearwine. Whilst staying at the Tin Inn in Apple Lane they (and the whole village) are set upon by Xiobalg’s Tusk Riders!

Regarding the Iron Ball and its history, I have an idea. It could be a Sliotar (Celtic hurling-ball) that was used to kill a giant/giant animal/demon by the Humakti’s ancestor. Celtic myth/Glorantha is full of references to Iron killing “fae”/Trolls/Aldryami and the legend of Cuchulain has him kill the Culann’s Hound (a giant dog) with a hurling-ball, put the two together and you’ve got a ready-made myth! Maybe The Humakti needs to find the hurling-stick to activate its hidden powers and/or he suspects someone has already found the hurling stick and is using it to kill the giant animals and protect the mining operation.

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29 minutes ago, RicKaySi said:

Regarding the Iron Ball and its history, I have an idea. It could be a Sliotar (Celtic hurling-ball) that was used to kill a giant/giant animal/demon by the Humakti’s ancestor. Celtic myth/Glorantha is full of references to Iron killing “fae”/Trolls/Aldryami and the legend of Cuchulain has him kill the Culann’s Hound (a giant dog) with a hurling-ball, put the two together and you’ve got a ready-made myth! Maybe The Humakti needs to find the hurling-stick to activate its hidden powers and/or he suspects someone has already found the hurling stick and is using it to kill the giant animals and protect the mining operation.

Thanks so much for all this! Going to give everything a proper read through.

When it comes the iron ball I was actually thinking of a Mostali musket ball embedded in a frenzied beasts flesh  (yes directly cribbing from mononoke). Based on the idea that human activity area has woken up old dormant Mostali defences

 

Edited by Super Thunder Bros.
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On 6/11/2024 at 12:10 PM, Super Thunder Bros. said:

Oh I’ll also add I had the idea of introducing Dwarves early.

Really like the idea of abandoned Mostali sites have been disturbed and the security has been reactivated. Therefore you have automated defences pelting wildlife with iron musket balls etc.

Iron is too expensive, harder to work  and less dense than lead  so not used for musket balls in the RW.  Much more so in Glorantha.

 

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On 6/11/2024 at 10:45 AM, Super Thunder Bros. said:

My aim of this game is to explore Tribal (more so than clan) and cult affairs in the Far Place of Sartar after failed rebellions and during Lunar occupation (around 1615).

I presume you have Wyrms Footnotes 15 (see https://www.chaosium.com/wyrms-footnotes-15-pdf/ - I think it is also available in print on Lulu but can't find a link). There's a really extensive section on the Far Place pages 40-48.

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2 hours ago, Super Thunder Bros. said:

When it comes the iron ball I was actually thinking of a Mostali musket ball embedded in a frenzied beasts flesh  (yes directly cribbing from mononoke). Based on the idea that human activity area has woken up old dormant Mostali defences

I guess the question is why does the iron cause the boar to go into a frenzy.

Is this some sort of Dwarven magic?

Or is this because the iron severs the boar's link with the earth?

Or maybe the boar counts as an elder race like alrdryami or uz?

Or perhaps the iron is tainted with chaos (I took this approach when I ran this)? There is some justification as Dwarf Mine, Snake Pipe Hollow and the Stinking Forest are in close proximity. Perhaps the network of dwarven mine tunnels has struck iron below Snake Pipe Hollow. They are mining the bones of a chaos god slain in the gods war. Since Snake Pipe Hollow was created to trap the Chaos Army by Babeester Gor it would all fit quite well.

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1 hour ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Iron is too expensive, harder to work  and less dense than lead  so not used for musket balls in the RW.  Much more so in Glorantha.

Good point. Would Mostali typically use bronze or lead for bullets? I guess if the bronze has been made from the bones of a chaos god then probably bronze.

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2 hours ago, Peter Hart said:

I presume you have Wyrms Footnotes 15 (see https://www.chaosium.com/wyrms-footnotes-15-pdf/ - I think it is also available in print on Lulu but can't find a link). There's a really extensive section on the Far Place pages 40-48.

I do! I've taken the idea of hotsprings and spa's and intergrated them from WF15

EDIT: No i'm thinking of the Finnish magazine, do have WF15 However!

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2 hours ago, Peter Hart said:

I guess the question is why does the iron cause the boar to go into a frenzy.

Is this some sort of Dwarven magic?

Or is this because the iron severs the boar's link with the earth?

Or maybe the boar counts as an elder race like alrdryami or uz?

Or perhaps the iron is tainted with chaos (I took this approach when I ran this)? There is some justification as Dwarf Mine, Snake Pipe Hollow and the Stinking Forest are in close proximity. Perhaps the network of dwarven mine tunnels has struck iron below Snake Pipe Hollow. They are mining the bones of a chaos god slain in the gods war. Since Snake Pipe Hollow was created to trap the Chaos Army by Babeester Gor it would all fit quite well.

Ah these are all such good ideas!

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Ok I've been won over on the musket balls front: I'll have the corpses of the beast my party take down riddled with lead balls, muskets will blow they're bronze age mindset!

Thinking on @Peter Hart's ideas how does the following sound; I'm hoping to give my Humakti the final blow but he'll get bitten by the boars iron tipped teath. It'll leave him with a Death mark (a sign he's ready to initiate) but also a slowly gathering chaos taint.

My player's are currently knee-deep in a bog after helping newtlings against a Hag. Going to have the newtlings notify the players they knew said hag was liasing with Tusk Rider's in the area.

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