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TK Nyarlathotep

New Glorantha Fan - Where to start?

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2 hours ago, Mankcam said:

However some cultures were definitely more dominated by the Barbarian background - eg: Praxians, Bazalorings, Grazelanders, Tusk-Riders, etc, whereas in other ethnic backgrounds (Orlanthi, for example) it may have only pertained to those from very isolated or alienated origins. So yes by this reasoning you could have Orlanthi barbarians, although I don't think that it pertained to a large number of Orlanthi. Certainly not enough to redefine the entire Orlanthi culture as 'Barbarian', which is what the RQ3 rules did.

 

Lets be honest the definition of Satar we find in apple lane is poor generic fantasy stuff not the stuff id choose to choose as the defining moment of Orlanthi culture. RQ2 defined Gloranthan culture in Prax and Pavis, and Satar was left a little thin on the ground.

Orlanthi culture gained definition for most gamers through RQ3, King of Satar, King of Dragon Pass, the Risklands campaign and Herowars/HQ1 period.  These had a pretty consistent theme and it was that of a prominently clan and tribal base society with the possibility of Orlanthi cities and Kingdoms co-exisitng in certain areas, but not needed and not the defining factor in Orlanthi society.

Even looking at the guide Orlanthi culture is defined by the clan and tribe, not the kingdom and city.

Satar maybe an exception with a  figure of approx 20% it is highly urbanised (similar to or higher than esrolia or the empire), but generally Orlanthi culture is not based around the city of the kingdom.

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Before King of Sartar, my best official source for Sartar and the Orlanthi used to be the Pavis box. Much of the rest was oral tradition among fans some of whom might have owned the Wyrms Footnotes series and a few APA articles from the Son of Sartar series.

Quite a lot of assumptions from that body of RQ2 Gloranthan lore turned out to be debatable or false leads. Still, that body of lore remains deeply embedded in a lot of people who remained true to Glorantha.

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9 hours ago, Jon Hunter said:

Lets be honest the definition of Sartar we find in apple lane is poor generic fantasy stuff not the stuff id choose to choose as the defining moment of Orlanthi culture. RQ2 defined Gloranthan culture in Prax and Pavis, and Sartar was left a little thin on the ground.

In professional publications, yes. The Sartar campaigns of Greg weren't exactly suited for publication as scenarios, given their strong attention to player character input, but write-ups appeared in APAzines.

When I saw the campaign in RuneQuest Vikings by Avalon Hill, my thought was that this must have been ported over from an Orlanthi campaign and Vikinged up. Don't get me wrong, the Vikings box made me go off and create a setting for a non-Gloranthan RuneQuest for my gaming group, with lots of loaning from Glorantha as well as a couple of other fantasy settings I still enjoy, such as Midkemia.

At that time RQ2 veteran friends of mine in Deutsche RuneQuestgesellschaft e.V. (known as Chaos Society outside of Germany, a somewhat apt name...) were working on various Sartar settings, urban and rural. We published a few of them in German - one or two in our club magazine Free INT, others in the two RQ3 scenario books we produced, and much of the Jonstown material Ingo Tschinke was working on ended up as background info for the Heroes of Wisdom freeform that was played in 1994. (I remember bringing my Atari ST and printer to the youth hostel to finish the last characters and handouts...)

Ingo did a beautiful and quite complete Jonstown background that he intended to get published in English. This was at a time when the RuneQuest 3 Renaissance still was a thing, when RuneQuest Adventures in Glorantha was on the Horizon (I played a Heortland campaign with the playtest rules at the time), and when the Internet was not yet the place to publish your material  for the majority of the gamers. There were a lot of RuneQuest and Glorantha pages blooming up during that time, each propagating their creators' campaigns and background, but printed publication was the way to go if you had campaign settings to offer to the public.

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Orlanthi culture gained definition for most gamers through RQ3, King of Sartar, King of Dragon Pass, the Risklands campaign and Herowars/HQ1 period.  These had a pretty consistent theme and it was that of a prominently clan and tribal base society with the possibility of Orlanthi cities and Kingdoms co-existing in certain areas, but not needed and not the defining factor in Orlanthi society.

I disagree - New Pavis set the theme for many players, with its city council structure (mayor, constable...) that the Lunars kept even after taking over the top tier of administration and military patrols to make their presence felt, and there was an implicit assumption that occupied Sartarite cities (like Ingo's version of Jonstown) would be very similar.

I had chosen to leave Sartar behind for an exploration of yet unoccupied Heortland, with all its additional influences, and returned only when I had a (sadly rather short-lived) family game with Hero Wars, set in the Balmyr tribe. I did choose a rural clan as primary background, but the clan had several households living in Wilmskirk, and a fair number of clanfolk spending clan activity in the city.

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Even looking at the guide Orlanthi culture is defined by the clan and tribe, not the kingdom and city.

The clan is the legal backbone of the Orlanthi, and given Jeff's background in law it isn't surprising that this is stressed in the descriptions.

Since I am trying to fill my longtime fallow pages www.glorantha.de with background information on the Orlanthi, I have about a dozen pages of (German language) Glorantha background I am working on right now, trying to give a short enough introduction to the Orlanthi culture of Sartar without sitting down and translating from the various publications.

Once more, we have a situation in the German language space where there are RuneQuest rules (and this time, Heroquest rules too) available in German language, but practically no scenario or background material for Glorantha. The German language RuneQuest 6 rules (which will keep their name in the German edition, which has a very limited print run and will be kept in reprint as PoD under that name, likely without any revisions) get supported by the entire Meeros material from Design Mechanism, but no Glorantha support in print.

Likewise, the German translation of the Heroquest Core rules (Heroquest 2, an even smaller run of pre-printed PoD books) lacks significant Glorantha information in German language, and while there is an upcoming scenario book (pretty much delayed by the unreliable author of the sole Gloranthan scenario in the collection), it will demonstrate the flexibility and universal appliability of those rules. Apart from Mythic Russia, this might be the only non-Gloranthan gaming material for the Hero Wars/Heroquest family that is seeing print, but I will happily be corrected if somebody knows about more material for these systems, e.g. in French (where an upgraded version of Hero Wars did see a very high print run).

As the owner of the domain glorantha.de and sort of acknowledged Glorantha sage I feel the duty to provide entry level information. Unlike the English scene, I cannot just point to the significant body of material in print and say "just use that" - instead I have to build up the information from the bottom, in German language. Without attempting to produce a printed background book.

Writing an introduction to the Orlanthi of Sartar from the bottom is an interesting experience. I need to provide basic information on the universe, the greater region of Genertela centered on Dragon Pass, on the Elder Races and Chaos, an overview over the basic myths, then the history of the region, but most importantly I need to get across what it means to play Orlanthi characters. And I find that I learn a lot about the Sartarites in the process, even after having played and narrated in the setting for years. Some of my recent threads here are part of that experience, like sorting out all that marriage stuff, and how it can impact a game.

As I mentioned, there is going to be a Heroquest scenario set in Glorantha. When I was asked whether I could write one, I was hitting something like a block. I wrote a Orlanthi-themed RQ3 dungeon crawl scenario and a cattle-raid themed Orlanthi RQ3 scenario for publication in Free INT years ago, and I could do dungeon crawls (aka ruin exploration) or raid stuff (aka slightly railroaded open air scenarios based on encounters) again. On the other hand, I was asked to do a Heroquest scenario, and I figured that any somewhat experienced GM could do dungeon crawls or open air scenarios in that style. I wanted to get across Orlanthi culture and clan life, Lunar occupation of Sartar, the urban nature of the kingdom, and the meaning the kingdom had for its clans. When I decided that the scenario would not be focused on the typical sword swinging and spear-tossing male Orlanthi types, I thought about the women in Orlanthi society, and how to make them go on adventures.

I'll discuss the implications of the female link between Orlanthi clans and other gender issues here in order to stay on topic. Suffice to say that if you look for the women rather than the men in Sartarite clans and cities, you will find a lot of possible connections that you may have ignored.

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Sartar maybe an exception with a  figure of approx 20% it is highly urbanised (similar to or higher than esrolia or the empire), but generally Orlanthi culture is not based around the city of the kingdom.

Sartarite urbanisation is maybe approaching 10%, unless you count in the significant portion of Sartarite-descended citizens of Nochet. A good portion of the urban dwellers manage agricultural resources outside of the city walls, or in places like Boldhome with entire valley branches walled off from the rest of the land (or Old Pavis with its way too large enclosure inherited from giants, or in other places inherited from Vingkotlings) even on city grounds. The city walls of Wilmskirk, Jonstown and Swenstown don't inherit much terrain features or Vingkotling Age walls, so they tend to be rather small. They still will have residents who farm the land around the city.

There will be clans who hold land adjacent to the city (or the lands outside of the city directly claimed by the city), and they will probably have members living in the city - possibly permanently, possibly on city ground counting as clan tula, possibly in some kind of clan-operated hostel that allows its members to manage their deals, specialist cult duties or training while still being hosted by their own clan and not building some obligation towards foreigners. Clans living in greater distance may have branches of certain households that have taken up a life in the city, retaining close connections to their blood kin and possibly their former clan kin too while entering urban over-families like guilds (which are attested to exist in Sartar, never mind their exact structure. Sounds better than "urban hero bands"...).

 

Another question is how the clans and the hearths will deal with those of their kin that maintain an on/off membership - adventurers who take very extended sabbaticals, mercenaries or followers of kings and heroes, members in specialist cults rising in the cult hierarchy and moving to the temple. Again a topic for my thread about marriage, I suppose.
 

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11 hours ago, Jon Hunter said:

Lets be honest the definition of Satar we find in apple lane is poor generic fantasy stuff not the stuff id choose to choose as the defining moment of Orlanthi culture. RQ2 defined Gloranthan culture in Prax and Pavis, and Satar was left a little thin on the ground.

Orlanthi culture gained definition for most gamers through RQ3, King of Satar, King of Dragon Pass, the Risklands campaign and Herowars/HQ1 period.  These had a pretty consistent theme and it was that of a prominently clan and tribal base society with the possibility of Orlanthi cities and Kingdoms co-exisitng in certain areas, but not needed and not the defining factor in Orlanthi society.

Even looking at the guide Orlanthi culture is defined by the clan and tribe, not the kingdom and city.

Satar maybe an exception with a  figure of approx 20% it is highly urbanised (similar to or higher than esrolia or the empire), but generally Orlanthi culture is not based around the city of the kingdom.

You'd be surprised by how many urbane civilizations defined themselves by genos and phratry/phyle. Or gens and tribus. Or 'ashira and fukhdh.

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17 hours ago, Mankcam said:

> Given that 'barbarian' is a translation from the ancient greek word 'Keltoi'

Actually, "keltoi" meant "brooch" as (damn, it is hard not using their Greek name) the barbarians who spoke somewhat like Gauls kept their early great kilts together with big fancy brooches.

Barbarian meant anyone talking in a non-Greek fashion, including the Egyptians on the civilized side and anyone north of Macedonia on the more primitive side, because the Hellenic peoples used "bar, bar, ..." as we would use "blah, blah" or "gooblety-gook", for any foreign tongue that they couldn't be bothered to translate, right then. I expect that the Romans were called "barbarians" right up until they conquer the Greeks and enslaved many of them (after that, the Greeks kept it to themselves).

       (my usual rant about the superiority of so-called barbarians over the gladiatorial games watching civilized folk, etc. omitted to save space)

 

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Yes, and I also read that the term Keltoi was a derivation of the name of a Nymph whose union with a demi-god (?Heracles) was the origin of the people living in the northern wilderness beyond Greece. 

The Greeks may have used in a derogatory fashion to describe the Persians as well, hence the 'uncivilised' negative concotations. So it gained a meaning that equates to 'uncouth other'.

I guess my point is that the word 'Barbarian' is derived from these meanings, and really is a problematic term when describing a cultural background due to its subjective context.

Edited by Mankcam

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On 25/03/2017 at 0:52 PM, Jon Hunter said:

Lets be honest the definition of Satar we find in apple lane is poor generic fantasy stuff not the stuff id choose to choose as the defining moment of Orlanthi culture. RQ2 defined Gloranthan culture in Prax and Pavis, and Satar was left a little thin on the ground.

Orlanthi culture gained definition for most gamers through RQ3, King of Satar, King of Dragon Pass, the Risklands campaign and Herowars/HQ1 period.  These had a pretty consistent theme and it was that of a prominently clan and tribal base society with the possibility of Orlanthi cities and Kingdoms co-exisitng in certain areas, but not needed and not the defining factor in Orlanthi society.

Even looking at the guide Orlanthi culture is defined by the clan and tribe, not the kingdom and city.

Satar maybe an exception with a  figure of approx 20% it is highly urbanised (similar to or higher than esrolia or the empire), but generally Orlanthi culture is not based around the city of the kingdom.

I think the tribal notion could work for Orlanthi cities. The urban cities of Sartar are not all that large, and the tribal confederations would present themselves as aligned political factions (although not always harmonious). People would probably live in suburbs perhaps defined by these tribal associations. These people would be primarily crafters and traders, with direct links to the rural tribal populations who travel to the settlements for their services.

The larger Orlanthi cities are in Esrolia, and I think the Faction idea would be equally important here, perhaps it is even more organised. I could envision it being the same notion with a reverse-focus, having political factions governed by the various Grandmothers, and rural tribal regions affiliated with each of these factions. 

I totally agree that RQ2 did not define Sartar very well, which was unusual given it's implied importance in the RQ2 setting. Then the portrayal from late RQ3 onwards went in a different direction that was hinted at in the RQ2 products, which is why we have the different interpretations we now have. 

Edited by Mankcam
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1 hour ago, TK_Nyarlathotep said:

I have, indeed, created a monster.

I hope that the grognards and Glorantha nerds (all of that in positive vein) here have not scared you off. We all started with very little - there is not much you need to know to be able to play - really. We had way too much fun by extrapolating from Apple Lane, then Balazar with Griffin Island plus Cults of Prax then Borderlands and Pavis/Big Rubble. So a starting point with one of these combined with Cults of Prax will bring you joy. After many years of collecting and gaming I have large stash of the material - how much of that is actually visible to players - probably very little because they are tackling their own little corner of the world one encounter at a time. Let the players read one or two of the Gloranthan Voices for their tribe and maybe neighboring one (two pages max) and do not require much else from them. 

Pick a physical location where you start (one of the above in this writing) - dive into a small location on that physical area (village, clan territory, our neck of the woods...) and start there. Reveal from Glorantha whatever you think is necessary, cool and relevant maybe once per session as long as you and players think it is cool, wonderful and relevant. 

Eventually you might dive in but to tell you the truth - after 36 years of gaming in Glorantha - I have not read all the materials in all the supplements, books and web pages and probably will not. Especially I do not adhere to any canon purely orthodoxly but use the Your Glorantha Will Vary - quite a bit. 

Happy gaming. You can probably start a game with any of the editions of RQ compatible ones around and then twist to the new rules when they arrive later on - this is what most of us have done over the years - for example I have not started a new campaign just because a new version of the rules by a different or same publisher arrived - I have just converted when I have wanted - it is not really a big deal. 

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You haven't, in my opinion...   ;)

IMO again, the more difficult is to begin the journey and you should keep yourself to your decision, you are following a good track with HeroQuest: Glorantha and King of Dragon Pass. The rest of the setting is yours to discover. May be am I wrong but I think this is the way the authors want us to proceed with Glorantha.

As far as I have understood the whole thing, Glorantha should be considered as a world Greg Stafford discovered and decided to share with us. He is the first explorer, the first archeologist of Glorantha and he has published his researches so that we can also explore this world by ourselves. Everyone of us is thus an explorer and our own discoveries can lead us to interpret things in a different way, to reject some theories and follow different ones, hence the contradictory opinions about things, even simple ones. But there is actually no truth, unless you want something to be a truth. The fact Glorantha is an imaginary world makes it both easier (I can change what I want) and more difficult (looking for a truth when there isn't any). Make it your own. You Glorantha will necessary vary as you have to fill the blanks and change what you don't like if needed.

IMO, this approach contributes to make this setting both more appealing and more difficult to dive into. You are in for a treat but you are somehow alone in your trip. You are welcome to share your discoveries though, but this can lead to hot debates, because it is easy to forget that there is no canonical truth and that our own researches can give different results. In the real world science can lead to hot controversies.

Edited by Corvantir
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2 hours ago, TK_Nyarlathotep said:

I have, indeed, created a monster.

I don't think so. You rather awakened a few of the Old Ones. (No idea if any of the participants qualifies for Great Old One...)

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...

53 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I don't think so. You rather awakened a few of the Old Ones. (No idea if any of the participants qualifies for Great Old One...)

somewhere below - you can hear the drums - slow - steady - deep - then slowly accelerating...

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I tend to think that starting with Heroquest is going in reverse.  I'd suggest starting with the nuts and bolts before graduating to the world-changing myth makers.

There's enough background in the original rulebook (RQ2, that is) and Cults of Prax as a start.  That's what I began my foray into RQ with (along with Apple Lane, which came in the boxed set I first bought).  Cults of Terror and Griffin Mountain followed in short order, and that and Prax kept me busy for a long time.

You don't really need background on the entire planet (i.e., Guide to Glorantha); it's handy to have as a reference, but daunting to deal with when you're just getting into things.

(And then the Chaosium guys send me to time-out for suggesting not getting a product...) :)

 

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2 hours ago, Yelm's Light said:

I tend to think that starting with Heroquest is going in reverse.  I'd suggest starting with the nuts and bolts before graduating to the world-changing myth makers.

I know what you're saying, but there's plenty of nuts and bolts in HQ:G and its associated supplements. It's not all about world-changing myth-makers. Sure, it's easier to setup a game for that sort of thing when compared to RQ, but HQ:G contains a lot of very useful intro to Glorantha stuff, and the recent HQ:G supplements are chock-full of stuff about daily life in Dragon Pass, Pavis and so forth.

 

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4 hours ago, Steve said:

It's not all about world-changing myth-makers.

Ian Cooper's The Coming Storm is about life in (and around) the clan.  My current Nochet campaign is centered on a client house going about its day-to-day business.

Most Pavis material can be readily run using either RQ or HQG, and by no means needs to be world-changing.

The three questions that I tend to look at in getting a campaign underway are:

1) what style of system do I think would fit with what I want to run as a GM and my players are willing and interested in working with?

2) what type of campaign do I want to run (is it clan-based, epic adventure, urban intrigue, chaotic horror, etc.)?

3) what setting what I like to work with (and do I want to rely on/expand on existing supplements or develop my own)?

Lots of people here can help on any of those topics.

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5 hours ago, Steve said:

I know what you're saying, but there's plenty of nuts and bolts in HQ:G and its associated supplements. It's not all about world-changing myth-makers. Sure, it's easier to setup a game for that sort of thing when compared to RQ, but HQ:G contains a lot of very useful intro to Glorantha stuff, and the recent HQ:G supplements are chock-full of stuff about daily life in Dragon Pass, Pavis and so forth.

 

However painting with a very broad brush  RQ handles down and dirty very well. but never really scaled up well past Runelord level. HQ scales and handles mythic well, but I think its freeform manner lacks the definition of RQ and as such may not teach the game world in the same manner ( an odd view because the background is very good ).

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King of Dragon Pass is currently at -80% on Steam (so only $2.39, for Windows and Mac OS X):
http://store.steampowered.com/app/352220/King_of_Dragon_Pass/

Note: this version has been patched just last month:

Quote

 

Fixed Chalana Arroy Resurrection spell;
All descriptions are now shown properly in game and not via Steam interface as they used to;
Fixed Kallyr's Greater Destiny achievement;
Fixed a bug with Yes/No windows.


 

And for newcomers, excellent guide Becoming the King (or Queen) of Dragon Pass has also been updated:
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=504981085

 

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