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I'm new to Mythras having last been into RPG in the form of Runequest 1 (a few years ago...)

I'm excited to get back in as gamesmaster but I feel I need a little more inspiration and guidance  re cults and brotherhoods- the examples given in the core rulebook are few -  

I've found the wonderful random Mythras encounter generator to help with denizens and NPC but can anyone point me to a web-page or publication which can flesh out the wonderful weird world of cults?

And what happened re Runes? Are they out now once the Runequest licence expired? 

 

many thanks

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9 minutes ago, jezreel said:

I'm new to Mythras having last been into RPG in the form of Runequest 1 (a few years ago...)

I'm excited to get back in as gamesmaster but I feel I need a little more inspiration and guidance  re cults and brotherhoods- the examples given in the core rulebook are few -  

I've found the wonderful random Mythras encounter generator to help with denizens and NPC but can anyone point me to a web-page or publication which can flesh out the wonderful weird world of cults?

The vast majority of cults that I am aware of has been written for Glorantha, and a lot can be lifted from what has been published for these for other settings.

Cults and deities are always specific to a setting. One setting's death deities may be very different from other death deities, whether within the same setting but belonging to a different pantheon or culture, or whether from a death deity with a different history/myth in the other setting. The same for sun, storm mountain, lightning, earth... deities.

9 minutes ago, jezreel said:

And what happened re Runes? Are they out now once the Runequest licence expired? 

Your games don't need to care about any licensing, unless you mean to use only officially supported material. From your mention of Hannu's encounter generator, this doesn't seem to be the case, though.

I have used runes as building blocks for the magic of a compatible setting of mine, using the Gloranthan runes as constellations in the (fairly normal) sky above an earth-like planet. If you use a different setting, you aren't limited to the Gloranthan set and can create new ones, pair some runes, dissolve some other pairs for triangle or even more multilateral relations. You an create specific lesser runes which inherit from certain parents, basically a magical short-hand for a derived magical principle.

Writing the Runes was a type of Viking magic, mentioned e.g. in Egil Skallagrim's Saga, and refers to a magic using their symbolism. This is a type of sorcery in my game setting. Mastering or integrating a rune is a heroic or divine form of magic, and allows that hero or deity to use magic tied to this principle, and even grant such magic to worshippers in exchange for magical support. Heroes usually grant a feat that goes with their rune and a glorious deed in their history.

I have seen rules for Gloranthan spirit cults in RuneQuest, but no official rules for Gloranthan hero cults. The scope is similar, though.

 

 

 

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In your own game you can use whatever cults you want. What is in the Encounter Generator is mostly one man's view of the mechanics of the cults in the scope of a particular game system - search the https://notesfrompavis.wordpress.com for those one pagers. They were built for my campaign from reading all the material that was available at the time for RQ2 and RQ3 etc. They contain only the mechanics - cult content itself (myths, role in the world, cult progression etc) is available in the many Gloranthan publications. The cults in the Generator were built on top of those one pagers. You can find a list of them here http://skoll.xyz/mythras_eg/statistics/#cults and by searching with those names you will find for almost if not all of them templates to generate. There is a number of cults there that are created from scratch or from very little snippets of inspiration or knowledge. 

Runes themselves are part of Glorantha but are open to much interpretation mechanics wise (=there were pretty much no mechanics or very little that I have used) depending on your own world. So invent away. 

29 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Hannu's encounter generator

It is not mine :-) It is the original brainchild of skoll with me and Pruneau giving input for features and me among others having built lots of content with that to our worlds and for anyone to use in their worlds. I might be the most prolific (public) contributor but it is not mine (standing on the shoulder of giant here, would not exist without skoll). It has given me tremendous pleasure and utmost functional use in my campaign to build this and is one of the reasons for my reinvigorated participation in RPGs. 

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6 minutes ago, jezreel said:

thanks Joerg

Is there a particularly useful source for the Runequest Cults - anything accessible on the web, say?

One pagers available from notesfrompavis blog. Most of the Runequest cults available from Chaosium (Cult Compendium, Cults of Prax, Cults of Terror...) - might be best to ask in the other forums (Glorantha, Runequest) than Mythras. 

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For some extremely good examples of cults and religions, I'd suggest taking a look at various supplements of ours, but most notably 'Monster Island', 'Mythic Rome', 'Shores of Korantia', 'The Taskan Empire' and 'Mythic Britain Companion'. Each has a number of cult treatments (none are reliant on the Gloranthan runes) for a wide range of human and non-human religions, both fantasy and real world. Such things tend to be setting-specific, as has been mentioned, and so looking to a published supplement can provide a lot of inspiration for creating your own.

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2 hours ago, jezreel said:

thanks Joerg

Is there a particularly useful source for the Runequest Cults - anything accessible on the web, say?

Have a look at Cult Compendium - A Gloranthan Classic that has pretty much all of the RQ2/RQ3 cults.

Online, I have a HeroQuest Cult Conversion that lists the RQ spells for converted HeroQuest cults.It is not a full cult writeup but should give you some ideas.

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2 hours ago, lawrence.whitaker said:

For some extremely good examples of cults and religions, I'd suggest taking a look at various supplements of ours, but most notably 'Monster Island', 'Mythic Rome', 'Shores of Korantia', 'The Taskan Empire' and 'Mythic Britain Companion'. Each has a number of cult treatments (none are reliant on the Gloranthan runes) for a wide range of human and non-human religions, both fantasy and real world. Such things tend to be setting-specific, as has been mentioned, and so looking to a published supplement can provide a lot of inspiration for creating your own.

Monster Island contains multitude of really good sorcery orders, theistic cults and shamanistic societies. It really is a gift that keeps giving in multiple levels. 

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Note that "Runequest" and "Glorantha" need to be addressed as separate entities.  The setting pre-dated the RPG by a considerable margin, and some editions of the RPG have either downplayed or eliminated the world.

Are you looking to run Mythras/RQ6 (the ruleset) in Glorantha (the game-world)?

Or just looking for cults&runes mechanics & concepts... inspired by oldschool RQ+Glorantha, but set in another game-world?

I agree with all the advice above, but thought this point merited being addressed explicitly ...

Edited by g33k
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g33k

GLorantha is such a rich setting that I feel I want to start there- I can always invent and add where I feel it is necessary/desirable - it seems crazy to ignore such a wealth of foundational materiel and it has clearly stood the test of time and clearly prompts others to imagine and be creative- both important tests of quality, I think

BUt I'm very new to GM-ing ( my previous experience is limited to 4 years in late teens and  that's a world away now)  so any help is very much appreciated- I love learning from others who have experience and then adding my own twists and features.

Is there actually any  materiel (written or video)  that anyone can recommend for, say, key tips to providing a flexible and fun RP environment so new players can thrive and enjoy their experiences with a keen-but-green GM?

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There is guidance in the Mythras book if I recall correctly.

Outside of that: 

https://notesfrompavis.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/starting-a-glorantha-rq6-campaign-before-adventures-in-glorantha/ has some pointers for RQ specific things. 

John Fourr is a wealth of a source: https://roleplayingtips.com especially loopy planning  http://roleplayingtips.com/readissue.php?number=488#F1 and this https://roleplayingtips.com/rptn/rpt642-30-minutes-prepare-game/

Justin Alexander another good blog: http://thealexandrian.net

http://www.campaignmastery.com/blog/

Books: http://www.enginepublishing.com/complete-trilogy-never-unprepared-odyssey-and-focal-point This is a good trilogy

Robin's laws of good gamemastering is a classic and is mandatory reading I guess. 

This http://www.chaosium.com/sharper-adventures-in-heroquest-glorantha/ is for HeroQuest but can be useful in others as well. 

All of the above are opinionated and depending on your style and your players wishes.  some people like to and can prepare a lot and some people like to and can just wing it. It might depend on a day...

I have sometimes ran half a year's games with nothing more than five or six bullet points, a few npc's  and an overreaching idea that players invented : "There has to be a mole/traitor in the inner ring of rebels in Pavis - nothing else can explain the events so far" and so the molehunt was started. 

The Encounter generator can help quite a bit... https://notesfrompavis.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/game-night-supported-by-rq6-encounter-tool/ Many of the parties (especially at cities and monster island) contain additional seeds for adventure. 

Keep a log and record your ideas somewhere - loopy planning helps. Evernote has been good for me but before that I used just cards. 

https://notesfrompavis.wordpress.com/2016/01/23/spotlight-cards-for-rq/ spotlight cards will help you in planning. 

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Looking for GMing advice can give you plenty of extremely contradictory examples. Youtube it up and you'll find examples, but many of them are D&D-centric games, or employ techniques that you don't need at the tabletop at all. If we assume you're going to be running at a tabletop, here's a few recommendations from my own experience (GMing for 25+ years, and still learning). 

A lot of good GMing advice is similar to good leadership advice, when you get down to it. 

Be Prepared: This one is important. Very important. In your free time, prepare material. Have the setting fleshed out, create lists of NPCs names, design maps, and fiddle with your scenarios. Preparation makes it easier to improvise when you need to, and gives your players the sense that you are ready for them when they arrive. It will make you more confident when you run a game. I'm personally decent at running games on the fly, but not everyone is, and preparation always makes it easier. 

Improvise: When things begin to turn sideways in a planned scenario, don't balk at it. Stall for time if you need to think, or suggest a coffee break. Then think of how to adapt the players newest strategy to your own scenario, or to bend your scenario to be entertaining despite their clever plans. Improvisation is easy - you likely did it as a kid with your action figures and/or dolls, just go back to those techniques. 

Rotate Focus: Move the lens between characters. Don't let one player dominate play. Have NPCs become interested in a character who speaks less. Design plot elements for characters you feel are not contributing as much to the game. I had a rule (one the players never saw) that if I hadn't heard anything out of a player in 15 minutes, it was time to see if I could have the game world "nudge" them into action. Sometimes they were just along for the ride, and that's okay, but other times you are trying to encourage players to get involved in a game that can be daunting. 

Coach Players: Just as you want to become a better GM over time, also keep in mind you want to encourage good player habits. Part of being a GM is also being a referee, so if you see great player actions and ideas, reward them. If you see bad stuff at the table, call it out politely, and remind people this is also a game, and people need to try and play fair and respectfully to each other. Just like at work, focus on the positives, and coach the negatives into positive directions. 

Be Open & Inclusive: Be willing to bend genre conventions at times where they don't really matter, and keep in mind what players may want to accomplish at the table with character choices. This seems like a no-brainer, but be very wary about being "overly authentic" about issues like racism, rape, slavery, bigotry without knowing your group well. Do not be afraid, on the other hand, to forbid characters don't fit the setting at all, or set a player up for a rotten experience (players insisting on playing non-humans in a human supremacist nation or something to that effect). 

Voice Work: Practice speaking on your own. Driving to work is a good time (if you're in the car alone). Learn to resonate your voice, to project. A strong, resonant voice can help focus listening ears. Once again, you're the referee - you want to be heard and understood. Also practice voices - get a few good books on tape / CD (Audible is a good source), and listen to the readers and how they change voice and accent to distinguish characters. It makes a huge difference. 

Be Self Critical: Journal your sessions after the fact, and look for areas to improve in. Look for repeated patterns, or areas you got stumped in. These are places for you to grow and develop. Make notes, and don't worry if you didn't do well last session. It's an art to run and play in games, and we get better with experience and time. 

Think Books and Stories, not Movies and Television: Movies and television have less time to tell a story, and tend to heighten drama and conflict in a plot well beyond need to hook viewers. Think books. Take time to tell a story, build characters and setting, and don't be afraid to tell smaller stories. You don't have to save the world from the Dark Lord. You don't need good vs. evil if you're not telling a moral story. RQ/Mythras is not bound to the "good/evil" or "law/chaos" dichotomies, and that frees up a lot of narrative freedom. Think critically about the media you consume, and learn to craft your own stories and scenarios that fit the game, rather than just emulating the fiction you watch on the flat screen. 

Be the Example: Arrive to game showered, hair combed, clothes neat. If you're having guests over, clean before they come. Be a good host, or be a good guest. Always have your game kit packed and ready when game day approaches, and check to make sure you have all you need in it before you leave the house. Practice what you preach in terms of manners and expectations. Don't be afraid to admit when you're wrong, and even acknowledge when you argued a point falsely or out of anger. Be a good human. Being a GM means players will, often enough, look to you for guidance on what's acceptable.

If You're Going to Steal, Do it Shamelessly: Our individual game sessions are not syndicated programs where we have IP lawyers looking for infractions. Borrow what you like. Use names as you please. Be conscious that you can signal silliness you don't intend if you do this clumsily (calling your holy man "Brian" in Pavis might derail your game). But if you want to grab a plot you've read or seen, just do it. Write out the plot structure, change a few names, and "poof", you have your plot. You will find, in play, that even though you made a civil war with a princess secretly working for the rebels and a terrifying dark knight with impressive battle magic enforcing Lunar law, the "New Hope" plot elements you ripped off will take on a life of their own rapidly and evolve away from the source "germ". It is a commercial conceit that you can own ideas. You aren't in this for commerce*

Never Loose Sight: You are playing a game. You want to entertain the table, and have some fun doing it yourself. Similarly, keep this in mind with adjudication. Sometimes you need to punish the group when they act like buffoons, but sometimes they can get lucky and get away with something. Now, don't confuse "it's just a game" with a maxim that the sessions should be comedic frolic at all points. A lot of good drama, action and story can evolve from an RP scenario. But when in doubt, do what is more interesting and consistent for plot, and keep in mind that great persons often had a share of very strange luck to get them there. If you want an example, just think of how you got to where you are now, and what would have happened if you'd chosen that other job, said that thing you thought about to that guy/girl, got caught doing that nasty deed, turned left on that one day...

Hope this helps! 

* Obviously if you ever do decide to publish, be very wary about where you got your ideas from. 

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I echo all the above, and would add one more element that is, to me, the most important of all:

Listen: listen carefully to what your players say to each other and to you, both on character and out of it. Listen to the questions they ask  assumptions they make, conclusions they reach and plans they formulate. There is no better tool for aiding improvisation, storytelling and game orientation than listening and responding to the players and their characters. Not only does it help you as the GM, it draws them into the experience and shows you are prepared to invest their input. I"m always happiest when my group starts discussing, questioning, speculating and leaving me to listen and absorb. It's fuel for me and therefore fuel for the game. The best GMs listen much more than they spend on detailed planning on consulting the rules. So it's the one skill I recommend every GM develop above all others. 

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@hkokko i love John Fourr, i own several of his books in dead tree format and i follow his musing and blogging. ALOT of information for dms there.

@lawrence.whitaker so true on the listening part. man sometimes all you have to do is start a sentance and the players will jump in adding flavor and character to make it way better than what i was going to say about it especially when brainstorming on things.

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I don't have a lot to add to the good advice above.  We have discussed most or all of this, in different words, in countless posts on the Design Mechanism forum.  Perhaps some of those slightly different phrasings will resonate even more for you.

I agree with Loz about listening.  I will call that an in-game activity.  To emphasize an out-of-game activity, I would choose this:  Don't overprepare.  I think this is an affliction particularly of the GM who wants to do right by the players and is self-conscious.  I also think this is probably really easy to do with a super-rich setting like Glorantha.

When planning, identify the key points of what you need to know about setting, characters, and incident, and then stop.

If you get some detail "wrong" (realizing that you are running your version of this setting, and get to decide what "wrong" means), just retcon it later, or adjust your world plans to make it "right".

Oh, and about Johnn Four:  I like reading his stuff, and some of it is quite valuable (if obvious), but I find it very D&D/OSR-centric.  This renders about 2/3 of his discussion much less relevant, for my purposes.  Still, he is very thoughtful.

Edited by Matt_E
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I approached cults and brotherhoods from a patron (a la DCC) standpoint using help from posters on this forum and using the outline system that we did back in school. I made a simple outline of each cult/guild/brotherhood  based on what I wanted and what the players wanted. This created a simple, thorough and handy reference that is easily broken down into its components.

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On 4/16/2017 at 2:37 AM, jezreel said:

GLorantha is such a rich setting that I feel I want to start there-

I think the best advice I know for getting started in a Glorantha campaign is to start small / local, and spread out.

Begin with a VERY short short-list of commonalities, and have every PC need at least one item from that list.  The idea is to pick a limited subset so you and the players don't have to absorb the entire regional culture just to begin play.

In Prax, for example, you might pick the Impala Tribe + Eiritha :  all PC's should be Impala-riders, and/or Eiritha worshipers (many other combo's would be possible, of course!)  So in this example, most PCs will likely be Impala-riders, but a player who REALLY wants a different beast can still be one of the adventuring party if their main deity is Eiritha; and most of the group will be Eiritha cultists but there could still be a non-Eiritha worshipper if they are an Impala Rider.  But there would NOT be a Storm Bull - worshiping Bison-rider (of course, "Storm Bull worship" + "Bison Tribe" is an equally-valid focus!  You could still be a Bison-riding Eiritha-worshiper, or a Storm-Bull-worshipping High Llama rider, in this other example ... ) .

There are other ways than Tribe+Deity, though -- pick a "spirits" focus, for example, with everyone to be on a Shaman-path, or member of the Ghost Darter society...

Or "anti-Lunar" -- everyone has some reason that the Lunars are their most-hated foe.  Or pro-Lunar -- everyone has some link or alliance to the Lunar Empire (or at least to individuals who are Lunars).

Etc ...

This gives the beginning PC's a common focus, a reason to be working together.  It lets YOUR Glorantha grow in the directions you and the players choose, at the rate that works for you.

 

Edited by g33k
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