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Jon Hunter

New Balazar Fan Site

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Hi,

For those of you who don't frequent the Google+ forum just to let you know about the new Griffin Mountain Homebrew site I have launched.

www.backtobalazar.com.

Lots of notes and ideas around a non canon Balazar Campaign.

 I'm really happy for feedback and comment.

Cheers

Jon

Edited by Jon Hunter
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I'm not sure why i like it so much, I feel Pavis has more flavour.

My best guess is its an environment where the players can become central and influential very quickly, where in places like Pavis someone else is driving events and PC's are always going to be a hanger on.

Also I think the sandbox nature of the setting always helps as well.

Edited by Jon Hunter

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2 hours ago, Jon Hunter said:

I'm not sure why i like it so much, I feel Pavis has more flavour.

My best guess is its an environment where the players can become central and influential very quickly, where in places like Pavis someone else is driving events and PC's are always going to be a hanger on.

Also I think the sandbox nature of the setting always helps as well.

Yes, players can quickly become the Big Heroes in Balazar. And the sandbox is eminently gameable. There is just Balazar where you start and then the Elder Wilds to explore.

Pavis/ Prax is also an isolated backwater and sandbox in a way, but is already a much bigger world with connected but very distinct sub-settings with no obvious order of play.

- New Pavis

- The Big Rubble

- The River of Cradles: Sun County

- The River of Cradles: Borderlands / Lunar Grantlands

- Prax proper, west of the River of Cradles

- the Wastelands, east of the River of Cradles    

 There are at least four starting points/ home bases: New Pavis, Sun County, Borderlands (Duke's Raus fort) and the nomad tribes themselves.

 

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I loved the sandbox nature of Griffin Mountain - it's why I ended up developing Imther and Saird content as it was very convenient to drift into Griffin Mountain for major quests.  Never went to Griffin Mountain itself over 10 years of active games, but had a wonderful quest to Gonn Orta's Castle via Trilus and Dykene, and a very active Imtherian village established along the western shore of the Elf Sea with plenty of Votanki visitors.

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11 hours ago, smiorgan said:

Pavis/ Prax is also an isolated backwater and sandbox in a way, but is already a much bigger world with connected but very distinct sub-settings with no obvious order of play.

For many years the Pavis/Big Rubble setting was the best entry point for a Sartar campaign, having the best information on how Sartar (and especially a Sartarite city) worked.

I guess what really made feel Pavis so alive were the Griselda stories as samples of (solo) play.

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Things I think that made Pavis stand out were

  • The numerous supplements that created the feel for Prax
  • The artwork
  • The desert setting
  • The cosmopolitan nature made it a melting pot for different ideas and there were not the restrictions that a Balazar, Colymore or Praxian campaign would have.
  • The Griselda stuff

 

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17 hours ago, smiorgan said:

 There are at least four starting points/ home bases: New Pavis, Sun County, Borderlands (Duke's Raus fort) and the nomad tribes themselves.

 

Don't forget the Rubble, I use the Real City as a home for any Character I roll up.

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As great as Pavis/BR may be, it has for me a slightly artificial taste of "trying to put a condensate of Glorantha into a small box". It is a kind of too much on a too small place. I prefer Prax and the river. Balazar provides for me higher consistency and credibility than Pavis.

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Another "condensate" setting that I hope Chaosium could develop for RuneQuest is Safelster and the wilder parts of Ralios. You have bizarre henotheist cults, trade and city intrigue, Trolls, Mostali, Aldryami, Orlanthi with bizarre taboos, Telmori werewolves, broos from Karia (where Dorastor is just a Kartolin Pass away) and the shadow of Arkat looms large on the region.

 It's Glorantha in all its richness (except ducks), but still in a manageable size. 

The Second Age Mongoose material on Ralios was good and very sandboxy - albeit mostly staless and under-developed. I'd love to see Chaosium doing something for Third Age Ralios. I'd honestly prefer to game there than in the more iconic Dragon Pass/ Sartar or the familiar Pavis/ Prax.

 

  

Edited by smiorgan
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55 minutes ago, Jon Hunter said:

im not sure why but safelster has always carrie din my head this image of being a little 'generic fantsay', unsure why, maybe completely unjustified. 

No idea why - independent city states at odds with one another, with gradual differences in their deity etc. fits the bill for the Bronze Age cities on the eastern Mediterranean or in Mesopotamia. The tradition of hiring Greek mercenaries may date back into the Bronze Age, too - Lyon Sprague de Camp wrote a nice story about a veteran from the siege of Troy (don't recall which one right now) taking service in Egypt - so the omnipresence of mercenary companies in Safelster appears to fit, too. Let's add the fleets on the lake, which may be a bit too advanced for Bronze Age, but emphasizing extremely sleek rowed vessels for war on that hardly roughened body of water.

The Arkat mysteries deserve some more exposition - I know that there is some material which hasn't seen publication yet, except maybe a few public readings.

The "Rise of Ralios" freeforms did some exploration of that area, so did Ingo's "King's Funeral". The Orlanthi both of Vesmonstran and of East Ralios were the subject of campaigns, e.g. David Dunham and Jonas Schiött in East Ralios or Nikk Effingham in Otkorion. Reports on these can be found in the Glorantha Digest archives. I myself took part in a play-by-email game by Jose Ramos set in Kustria which had us heroquesting using RuneQuest 3 rules - ask me or Paolo about details if you're interested. All of these had a distinct Gloranthan look and feel.

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Sometimes you just get strange images in your head, i think I saw them similar to medeivil italian city states, and there wa s p[icture once of a man with a rapier similar to thieves world and the image stuck :)

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1 hour ago, Jon Hunter said:

im not sure why but safelster has always carrie din my head this image of being a little 'generic fantsay', unsure why, maybe completely unjustified. 

- It has western Malkioni influences so it was more medieval in its RQ3 presentation (and kind of Renaissance Italy in MRQ). I guess a new Ralios campaign pack won't have that feel.

- It's more temperate than Prax, a more European climate.

- It has Elves, Dwarves and Trolls. Except that Aldryami, Mostali and Uz are not your generic demi-humans.

So, superficially, Yes. It might look a little bit more generic fantasy even if actually it is not,

   

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I know we are way off-topic is regards to the Balazar site, but I'ld just like to throw my voice in to vouch for a Moon Design RQ/HQ publication of Ralios.

Heaps of potential, especially now that the Malkioni are more late antiquity flavoured rather than medieval, so this would be a great opportunity to really present Malkioni how they are currently envisioned.

I could certainly see a city-state of Safelster being a great setting to begin a sandbox campaign and work further outwards.

 

Edited by Mankcam

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53 minutes ago, Mankcam said:

I know we are way off-topic is regards to the Balazar site, but I'ld just like to throw my voice in to vouch for a Moon Design RQ/HQ publication of Ralios.

Sorry for contributing to the off-topic. The Balazar site rocks. There is no such a thing as too much Balazar. I'm all for giant-built, sun-worshiping, pig-herding megalithic citadels.

I've run an entire campaign in Balazar without the *faintest* idea of what was going to happen to the characters next. It was just letting the player character go places, meet people, rolling random encounters and letting the story unfold.

Ralios would rock as well.

 

  

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On 1/7/2016 at 10:15 AM, smiorgan said:

I've run an entire campaign in Balazar without the *faintest* idea of what was going to happen to the characters next. It was just letting the player character go places, meet people, rolling random encounters and letting the story unfold...

That pretty much describes a good sandbox setting down to the tee. Really makes me want to run a RQ game set there again, as I never had the opportunity to do so. I have had the reprint of Griffin Mountain for a few years, and it's the whole sandbox nature that really grabs me.

I like how you don't have to engage in the mega-conflict outside its borders with the Lunar Empire encroaching on the southern cultures. In Balazar the Lunars are only a provincial presence trying to gain a foothold in one citadel, and Balazar is not currently high on the imperial agenda so the other two citadels are pretty much doing their own thing. The place is small enough for the PCs to have an impact, and it has the classic fantasy opportunities for dungeon crawling and wilderness trekking, with some kind of foreboding out-lands nearby (ie: The Elder Wilds).

Like Pavis, it's a good spot for a beginning troupe, as the player characters can be locals or from 'elsewhere', and you don't have to provide too much a reason why such a motley crew is together, the focus is mainly on exploring the region and also the local politics. 

Certainly all makes for great fantasy gaming :D

 

Edited by Mankcam

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Just wanted to voice my appreciation for Jon's work on Back to Balazar - I'm hoping to restart my own Balazar campaign in the spring & this will really help !

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