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Ian Cooper

The Coming Storm AMA

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Some folks have picked up The Coming Storm, some have not. I wanted to create a thread where folks could ask questions, either about what they are reading or about whether they should buy.

First of all, let me capture the answer to a few common questions:

Why is this in two books?

There are a number of pragmatic reasons: it would be cheaper to ship and the first volume would be completed faster, and could be interleaved more easily with other priorities as a result.

In addition there is a natural divide between the two volumes. The Coming Storm (Red Cow Book I) is the setting material. You can use this as a sandbox campaign setting without the other volume (although we do provide some 'template' episodes there that will help with a sandbox campaign. In addition, players can read this volume as it represents what most people know of their local area (there are one or two secrets, but nothing players should not know if they can be trusted to only use that knowledge for MGF). With a more complex setting like this (we have over 60 NPCs) then having the PCs armed with knowledge of the NPCs and places can actually help with gameplay.

The first volume focuses on the Red Cow clan of the Cinsina and includes details of their clan lands and primary settlement, Red Cow Fort. It also includes details of their rivals and neighbors, the Dolutha, and the settlement of Dangerford as well as the Red Cow's enemies the Emerald Sword clan of the Dinacoli, and the Two-Pine clan of the Culbrea. There is full detail of the Cinsina tribe, and their history as well. Finally we detail the Rebels in the area, Telmori, and the settlers of Wulfsland, including the settlement of Stonegate. The heart of the material is the description of over 60 NPCs, all fully illustrated. It is intended to form a sandbox campaign setting.

The second volume, the Eleven Lights provides a campaign that runs from 1618-1625 and takes the PCs through the darkest years of the Occupation to the Liberation. It allows the PCs to take part in one world-shaking event (that has not been previously detailed in print, although the Guide alludes to it), which gives the second book its name. The presentation format is similar to that of the Great Pendragon Campaign. For each year we detail events of the Hero Wars that reach Sartar (by news or direct impact), local reaction to those events, and suggest scenarios that could occur in that year. We detail specific scenarios for key local events. These can be used as inspiration in a sandbox campaign, or interspersed with your own organic episodes to 'tell the story' of the Red Cow clan in the Hero Wars. The material is open to diverging based on player action and support is provided for managing that. (In playtest nearly all campaigns 'go their own way'  by about 1623 so we provide more scenarios for early years to 'introduce' the setting and less later.)

Can I use this with System X?

The advantage of Heroquest for gamers using other systems for Glorantha (both official or home-brewed) is that it has very little need for system material in a campaign book such as this. Beyond a line for keywords for NPCs, which can easily be treated as inspiration for stating them for other systems, there is little 'game' text. So you get value for money, by comparison to using many products with a ruleset you don't play. Of course in play you have to provide the stats for those NPCs. However, in most cases the PCs will not 'fight' with kin so you only need to decide on the level of their social skills, as and when you need them, reserving fuller stats for 'enemy' NPCs as and when you need them. (We may do a stat pack for other supported systems, such as RQ2/4 and 13thAge - no promises though).

But a Heroquest book looks much like a system-less book.

When is  Vol II coming?

Soon. We are in layout (having finished the text and art). Once that is complete it joins the queue for printing. It's hard to give exact dates, because other Chaosium products compete for resources, but rest assured that the book exists in an advanced stage that this will be sooner rather than later. it's not just a piece of advertising copy in the back of RQ2 ;-)

Is Broddi supposed to annoy the players?

Yes. The key struggle is between the 'Three Rivals' to replace Broddi, whose hour is done. We trigger that in the campaign in 1623, but in your campaign it could occur earlier. One reason for the rivals is to force the PCs to take sides amongst the different factions vying for control of the soul of the clan. The 'situation' is built as a 'tense' status quo, ready for the PCs to throw things out of balance (it might even be a PC who replaces Broddi). Although it's worth noting that in one of my playtests one or more PCs decided to be loyal to Broddi 'right or wrong.'

But fire away and I'll seek to anwer

PS I don't expect there to be 'system' questions, so I am posting it on the Glorantha thread. If system specific questions come up, just post a link here to a question on a more appropriate forum.

 

 

Edited by Ian Cooper
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One question that has come up verbally is how you use this material with an existing campaign (and particularly the Colymar Campaign). There are a number of good options:

 

  • The Red Cow and Orlmarth are friends, and share some history (the Red Cow's ancestors were amongst those who originally tried to settle lands taken from the Ducks by the Colymar). So there are connections that easily allow storylines where Orlmarth characters visit the Red Cow and vice-versa. So your PCs can visit the Red Cow and Red Cow NPCs can visit the Orlmarth. If you already have your own campaign you could pull a similar trick - create some reason why the two clans have a debt or connection.
  • If you want to migrate characters from an existing campaign to the Red Cow, the easiest route is in service to Queen Ivartha. The Queen's household often has 'outsiders' as they are not bound to clan loyalties within the tribe, but to the queen herself. You can then directly use the material, but the PCs will have different allegiances. An alternate route is to have the PCs join up with one of the rebel bands in the area - in essence you are joining a very small clan.
  • You can just strip mine this for your own game, taking the personalities you like, the locations even, and placing them within your campaign. Clans are small parts of Glorantha where canon should always take a back seat to YGWV (Your Glorantha Will Vary), so stealing these groups is easy.
  • Use it as inspiration for how to create your own clan, but don't directly use the material in case you want your PCs to 'visit.'
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Another question, slighlty related is: what if I want to co-create a clan with my players, instead of using the Red Cow, but draw on the rich background here to place my clan in.

The other clans of the Cinsina (i.e. not the Dolutha or Red Cow) here are intended to help here. The clans have a short decription and named NPCs but are intentionally left as a 'fruitful void' otherwise to allow GMs to stamp their own creativity on the tribe.

In one playtest, we created the Greenhaft clan as a group, using the clan generator from S:KoH and played out their story. The only constraints we took into the clan generation process was the knowledge that Orngerin Thundercape and the other rebels had sought exile and the remainder of the clan's leadership was a Lunar client. That helped us build quite a different story around a clan whose leadership were collaborating with the Empire, and whose rebel leadership were 'in exile.' The material in the setting remained valuable, but was viewed from a slightly different angle, and the clan we created was co-authored.

Making this possible was an explicit design goal for the setting.

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6 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

So there are connections that easily allow storylines where Orlmarth characters visit the Red Cow and vice-versa.

Marriage alliances are a good way to make these connections (i.e. who was your hero's mother? or who is your hero's spouse?).

In my Orlmarth campaign, one of the players added an ability to his hero:  Retainers: The Twin Blue-Clad Healing Women 17

Working with Ian's material, I expanded on this: 

Kerene and Penene, known by many as the blue-clad healing women.  Blue-clad reflects as much the slight blue tinge to their skin as their typical garments.  In the sunlight, the twins' hair sparkles silver, common amongst Helerings.  The twins are distant kin, great-granddaughters of Ondurvale, sister of Old Starkorval, who married into the Red Cow clan of the Cinsina tribe (a distant but friendly clan).  The twins fled the clan when their home was burned in the Righteous Wind insurrection, coming to live in Oranesstead.

While this has not yet led to any specific interactions with the Red Cow clan, the heroes are on their way to Jonstown, and such a connection may come into play there.

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11 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Marriage alliances are a good way to make these connections (i.e. who was your hero's mother? or who is your hero's spouse?).

While this has not yet led to any specific interactions with the Red Cow clan, the heroes are on their way to Jonstown, and such a connection may come into play there.

That's a great example. Jonstown in Sartar Companion provides great links into the Cinsina area, as the Cinsina are one of the tribes of the Jonstown Confederation. In my house campaign the PCs often visited Jonstown, and this is reflected in some of the scenarios in The Coming Storm.

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