Psullie

Elder Races as PC's?

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The weekly discussions relating to the Guide have highlighted the alien nature of the Elder Races. I've always stuck with humans as PC's in my RQ games as there is enough cultural diversity for me in Glorantha. 

Broken dwarves, aldryami scouts, exiled dragonewts not to mention all the beast men offer interesting role-playing opportunities. However I often found that as written in RQ2 they lacked a truly alien appeal, they were the same as human but with a slightly different Characteristic spread and perhaps an aversion to iron. They really were no different than elves & dwarves from D&D. I hoping that RQG addresses this but I though I'd like to through it out to the community too.

So, what have you done in the past that worked or not when having an Elder Race PC? Also, has anyone ever played an entirely Elder Race group?

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Posted (edited)

I think there is a problem in that all the players are 100%-human.  This lack (of non-human players) has been an issue in every group I have run for, or with.  ;)

It can be hard to actually RP such an "alien" mindset.  Doing so may lead in non-entertaining directions, and/or to a disconnected "I'm sure my Mostali would do some wierd Dwarvish thing now, but I'm not sure what, or why..." .

The best I have seen is a guy who played a dragonewt.  He RP'ed a lot of random-wierd impulses, and regularly threw dice to increase the randomness.  Like the time he decided to switch out of his armor into a formal ball gown... and never went back.

 

Edited by g33k
typo
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Posted (edited)

I'm curious which decision axes the armor-vs.-ball gown thing was on. :D  But seriously, folks...

Even trolls can be difficult without a fairly deep knowledge of the culture and their mindset.  It's definitely not for the inexperienced RP'er.  I've done a fair bit of thought along this line for every major race except Mostali, who just don't strike me as all that good for MGF.

It's a lot easier to run a homogeneous group of whatever race than an integrated one.  For one thing, it can take some serious pretzel twists to find rationales for the group staying together.  And then, of course, there's the issue of the hungry troll gazing longingly at his human party-mate's leg as if it was a drumstick or a PC of one race making an unintentional insult to a PC of another.  There can often be a fine line between peace and an intra-party brawl (although that can be fun, too) or fragging (not so much fun).  It's especially problematic keeping enemy races from jumping each other.  In many, I'd even say most, cases players anthropomorphize at least to the point where cooperation is taken for granted, where realistically it wouldn't be anywhere near that easy.

Also, there can be the issue of communication, especially with dragonewts.  Those which speak 'alien' languages are usually of the high-powered and highly-placed variety on vital missions, which doesn't work so well with lesser-powered PC's.  Among other things, it can lead to players assuming GM favoritism, and lack of game balance in terms of forces encountered.  This type of arrangement tends to have a fairly short shelf life.  An all-dragonewt party could be very interesting if played, though; at least they'd have the same mission and not have to deal with the inefficient communication of what, from their point of view, likely would be viewed as 'lesser races.'  There'd be plenty of opportunity for comedy relief for the players, as well, as g33k's example illustrates.  Further, how does that fresh-from-the-forest Aldryami with no foreign languages communicate intelligibly with the first group of non-Aldryami he's ever encountered?  Even if s/he does have some linguistic ability or knowledge, what cultural references might s/he miss, and in what ways can that cause embarrassment or more comedy?

Granted, the GM can come up with rationalizations for just about anything, but believable, logical ones can be a lot more difficult to create and especially sustain.  That's as much of a test for the GM as RP'ing the interactions is for the players.  Some of these concerns can be trivial to deal with, but others have the potential to be game-breaking, especially from the perspectives of suspension of disbelief and immersion.

Edited by Yelm's Light

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cheers guys

the random dragonewt sounded like fun, perhaps a potential for vaudeville, but did have a game mechanical element that supported the creature type

homogenous groups are probably the easiest, at least by being able to present a common lens through which to view the world. Even here, as Yelm's Light suggests, it would take a lot off work on the GM's part to create the truly non-human world of the Aldryami or the Mostali so that the players are able to see humans as alien invaders 

It is the 'can I play a dwarf/elf/hobbit?' type of player though that I'm most interested in. The 'Gimli v Legolas' stereotype haunts our games. It relies on all players to see beyond tolkien's ghost (what Glorantha aims to do) and perceive the elf as something different.

For example Brown Elves are deciduous plants. The rely on photosynthesis, they need water, cycle CO2 & Oxygen rather than breath, they feel pain differently than mammals, have different senses (perhaps see in a different wavelengths (as troll hate red)), and need to 'hibernate' each winter. While all this alters their view on the world, it also alters how the world interacts with them. What happens if an elf is denied sunlight, (Yelm's Light ;)), can they drown, if they don't sleep. These mechanics can really influence and underline racial differences so that your elf is more than a long haired bowman.

Another (bad) example is the Agimori, how many GM's have regretted showing the character gen table from River of Cradles to players, all they see is 3d6+6 STR & SIZ, 2 pt natural armour and they're off with little interest in their actual social background. 

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17 hours ago, Psullie said:

Also, has anyone ever played an entirely Elder Race group?

Trolls. When the RQ3 Troll and Troll Gods boxes came out I ran a game when where every one was a Rune level from clans in the Redstone Caverns. We had a Zong hunter, a Kyger Litor Shaman Priestess, a Zorak Zoran Warrior, a Gorakki Shaman Priestess and a Artaki Subere priestess. I think everyone had at least one assistant of some form.   This all started from wanting to play Snakepipe Hollow, it was the only reasonable way to be powerful enough to take it one. Everyone was familiar with Trollpak so it was pretty easy and a good time was had by all. The alienness of troll was easy to do in a homogeneous group. One of the main themes was of who was in charge. Clearly the Kiger Litor priestess, but she didn't really want to be bothered with the responsibility, so it was all about gaining favour. Even for Rune level troll SPH was a challenge. I certain recommend trying it.

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I'd consider it an interesting RP challenge,

but the needs groups that make sense.

The 'human, dwarf, elf centaur and dragonewt go into pub groups' i cant see ever working.

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Looking forward to seeing how RQG bring these "alien" races alive.  Be good to have new scenarios that build flavour and spark imagination, showing how they can relate with humans.  Art is critical here, we need new standards to present unfamiliar concepts of the Gloranthan elder races. Particularly looking forward to seeing what Chaosium do with the new RQG Bestiary.

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Posted (edited)

Got a soft spot for baboons, brings out the inner monkey in me. Much more playable as a player character then the more alien concepts of Aldryami and mostali. 

Edited by Paid a bod yn dwp
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I haven't found it too bad, but you do need to give your non-human characters good motivations for hanging out with a bunch of (mostly) humans. 

It works a bit better in games with a bit of a looser feel, that aren't so focussed on community inner workings, too. In 13th Age, where everyone is Unique, it's not so hard to justify non-humans (my game has a Sazdorf clan Humakti troll, and a duck). A HeroQuest game with a lot of focus on the clan (or other Community) makes it a bit harder to have them fit in - one isn't that hard with a good justification, two or more starts to get awkward. 

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On 7/26/2017 at 9:23 AM, Psullie said:

So, what have you done in the past that worked or not when having an Elder Race PC? Also, has anyone ever played an entirely Elder Race group?

I expect a group of mixed Elder Race PC's wouldn't work in any even-vaguely-canonical Glorantha for campaign-play.

I can envision a 1-shot, maybe a Heroquest; or other "mundane" adventure where some Foe (vampire, thanatari, Chaos-threat of some sort) must needs be overcome, even if your comrades-in-arms give you a "my life SUCKS" sort of feeling.

Make the common foe bad enough, the threat to each of their communities dire enough, and even "an Uz, an Adryami, and a Mostali walk into a bar..." becomes a viable premise.  Because *ALL* of them understand sacrificing their own self, denying their own impulses, in order to save their communities...

But the RP challenge does remain for the players of the Uz, the Adryami, and the Mostali...

 

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It depends which is more important in your game - MGF, or canonical accuracy?  It's not binary, of course.

 

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Posted (edited)

On 7/26/2017 at 5:23 PM, Psullie said:

The weekly discussions relating to the Guide have highlighted the alien nature of the Elder Races. I've always stuck with humans as PC's in my RQ games as there is enough cultural diversity for me in Glorantha. 

Broken dwarves, aldryami scouts, exiled dragonewts not to mention all the beast men offer interesting role-playing opportunities. However I often found that as written in RQ2 they lacked a truly alien appeal, they were the same as human but with a slightly different Characteristic spread and perhaps an aversion to iron. They really were no different than elves & dwarves from D&D. I hoping that RQG addresses this but I though I'd like to through it out to the community too.

So, what have you done in the past that worked or not when having an Elder Race PC? Also, has anyone ever played an entirely Elder Race group?

When playing a non-human, I look to the examples in the many Gloranthan supplements. The mythic background and cults give some ideas about how they react/act, Elder Secrets and Troll Pack give a lot of information about the Elder Races. Anything else can be made up and thus becomes canon for that campaign.

In our old RQ2 campaign, we had a Morokanth, a Duck, a Minotaur, an Elf, a Dwarf, a Centaur and several Trolls. They behaved how the players thought they should behave. It seemed to work for us.

Edited by soltakss
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1 hour ago, g33k said:

I expect a group of mixed Elder Race PC's wouldn't work in any even-vaguely-canonical Glorantha for campaign-play.

Elder race can easily work together ... against humans most of time. Don't forget the Grand Council where all elder races meets from the First Age, in the Second Age a still now in the third. Don't Forget "The Five-Rune Ring" (a hero band from Master of Luck And Death : a Tarshite women, an elven warrior, A dark troll, a ludoch, a durulz shaman, a Dwarf).

As g33k said , Elder Races may unite when facing chaos or common foes but it's the case of all who participate in the I fought we won battle...so everyone except chaotics. Whenever humans drop their guards after a part of world domination, the elder race reunite to beat some humans. Don't forget the End of Jrustela, Empire of Wyrms... it wasn't destroy by the hand of human hands only.

My own player ask me at some time to create a guild or someting similar to create a true Team Spirit because their were too much different. (An Oriental Dragon, an Arkati Sorceress, a Issaries Merchant, a kingdom-of-war Loskalmi-wanabee warrior and an Rinliddi Scribe).

I choose to look out some elder races types communities/hero band and their were numerous ...
-a Harshax oriented heroband (can accept any race which live in Ketheala)...Glory to the Harshax  !
-a Pavis heroband (a half-Elve from the Draconic Empire friend with a true Dwarf as best friend...)
-a Dragon friendly heroband (Inspired by Elder secret dragonewt scenarii)

The hardest part is not to create such team nor to found a campaign ... to me  it's "what I can do, for them not to kill each others due to cultural difference".

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22 hours ago, soltakss said:

In our old RQ2 campaign, we had a Morokanth, a Duck, a Minotaur, an Elf, a Dwarf, a Centaur and several Trolls. They behaved how the players thought they should behave. It seemed to work for us.

You'd be an exception rather than the rule.  I'm mostly curious how the elf didn't become a tasty vegetarian snack for the trolls.  And how those (at least seven) disparate interests stayed together for any significant length of time (i.e., more than one campaign).

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22 hours ago, soltakss said:

In our old RQ2 campaign, we had a Morokanth, a Duck, a Minotaur, an Elf, a Dwarf, a Centaur and several Trolls...

I can see the Duck in most campaigns.  They get along equally-well (or perhaps that's equally-poorly, if you play the "bad-tempered Death-Rune duck" stereotype) with most other races, afaik.

For "Morokanth" I just read "Praxian," except in an all-nonhuman party nobody's worried about the "is he gonna try to en-Gern us" and the Elder Races aren't pissy about the upstart humans' dominance.

Minotaur and Centaur "beastmen" are practically peas in a pod, in this party.

I'm REALLY unclear, though, why the Elf & Trolls hang long-term with the race that INVENTED poisonous uber-metal to kill them with; and why the Trolls didn't eat the Elf on the first High Holy Day (as they were ritually obliged to do).

EXCEPT of course for the overarching principles of MGF and YGWV and :

22 hours ago, soltakss said:

...  They behaved how the players thought they should behave. It seemed to work for us.

:D

 

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My initial thought was this:

On 7/26/2017 at 11:21 PM, Yelm's Light said:

In many, I'd even say most, cases players anthropomorphize at least to the point where cooperation is taken for granted, where realistically it wouldn't be anywhere near that easy.

 

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We had several PCs per player, except for two players who only had one PC each (Zorak Zorani Dark Troll and Yelornan Elf).

One PC group had trolls, the minotaur, Morokanth and some Storm Bull humans, the other had the duck, elf, centaur and more humans. So, it was rare that the trolls and elf joined in the same scenario.

To add complication, the Duck was a Sword Drake of Humakt, two of the trolls and the Morokanth were Death Lords of Zorak Zoran, the Centaur was a Light Son of Yelmalio, the Elf was a Unicorn Rider Rune Lady of Yelorna, the Minotaur was a Storm Khan of Storm Bull and the Dwarf was a Sword of Humakt. So, the Humakti, Yelmalians and Yelornan could eaily play together, the Orlanthi could play with both sets of parties, as long as they challenged the Yalmalians to riddling, the Zorak Zorani and Storm Bulls worked together well and could tolerate Orlanthi.

It got a bit tricky when players with one PC played together. That meant that you had a Zorak Zorani Dark Troll and Yelornan Elf in the same party. Fortunately, they were both Illuminated, so could tolerate each other. The Yelornan had a Unicorn that could have been a rune lord itself and had a very sharp horn, she also had Power Arrows that turned normal hoits into impales, implaes into criticals and criticals into critical impales and wasn't afraid of using them against uppity trolls.

When the Humakti Duck played with the trolls, things got interesting. He always killed any zombies or mummies that the Zorak Zorani raised, for example.

The party were climbing a staircase when they set off an arbalest, which hit the lead PC doing 19 damage to the chest, ignoring armour, Pektok the Duck was in front, followed by Masher, the Great Troll, Masher's PC laughed at the Duck getting creamed, until Pektok's player argued succesfully that the arbalest would have been set up to hit a human and miss a duck, so it would hit the second person in the party, oops!

Once, the Dwarf was travelling with the trolls. Even though he was a Humakti, he was attuned to a Godling Bone, which kept his soul bound and allowed Resurrection without losing skills due to the delay (We played that Humakti could be resurrected but couldn't ask for Resurrection through Divine Intervention, otherwise they were unplayable in a long and deadly campaign), so he had a handle built into the back of his plate armour, in case he was killed. Needless to say, he was killed and taken back to a temple to be Resurrected. Derak the Dark Troll offered to carry him back, to show there was no ill will between Zorak Zoran and Humakt. As they went, they could hear Derak eating noisily and assumed he had a packed lunch, it was only when they reached the temple when they discovered the dwarf had a lot more bite marks on his arms and legs than before. When challenged, Derak's reply was "Well, Dwarves are tasty..."

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Sounds like most RPGs.  You can either relax and have fun with it and everyone have a good time, or you can be That Guytm who pisses and moans because you're violating canon lore as described on page 204 of some book written by a putative expert 15 years ago.

Don't get me wrong; one of the things I like about Glorantha is that it's a far more fully realized world than other fantasy systems', but it's backdrop: I *cheerfully* disregard whatever gets in the way of my players and I having fun.  Sacred cows aren't my thing.

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On ‎27‎/‎07‎/‎2017 at 7:26 PM, Psullie said:

It is the 'can I play a dwarf/elf/hobbit?' type of player though that I'm most interested in. The 'Gimli v Legolas' stereotype haunts our games. It relies on all players to see beyond tolkien's ghost (what Glorantha aims to do) and perceive the elf as something different.

 

While obviously Tolkien's non-human races are more playable than Glorantha's, the common D&D style party is very much not Tolkien.  Like in Glorantha, it is quite clear that in Middle Earth, under normal circumstances, the various races do not like each other and will not generally work together.  The Fellowship is exception, something that hasn't happened for thousands of years and only happens because of a threat that is immense in scope and threatens all of the races. A situation very similar to that proposed in a previous post in this thread

 

 

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On 27/07/2017 at 9:22 PM, Paid a bod yn dwp said:

Got a soft spot for baboons, brings out the inner monkey in me. Much more playable as a player character then the more alien concepts of Aldryami and mostali. 

The baboon Melo Yelo was fun to play, because he desperately wanted to be a Sun Dome Templar and could follow them around and attempt to "act" like they did, all the while attempting to overcome his apely-urges.

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Posted (edited)

13 hours ago, styopa said:

Sounds like most RPGs.  You can either relax and have fun with it and everyone have a good time, or you can be That Guytm who pisses and moans because you're violating canon lore as described on page 204 of some book written by a putative expert 15 years ago.

Don't get me wrong; one of the things I like about Glorantha is that it's a far more fully realized world than other fantasy systems', but it's backdrop: I *cheerfully* disregard whatever gets in the way of my players and I having fun.  Sacred cows aren't my thing.

And if you want to be That Guytm who blithely butchers some of the basic logic and interactions of the world, more power to you.  But you might as well play generic D&D or BRP, because it's not Glorantha.

Edited by Yelm's Light

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1 hour ago, MOB said:

The baboon Melo Yelo was fun to play, because he desperately wanted to be a Sun Dome Templar and could follow them around and attempt to "act" like they did, all the while attempting to overcome his apely-urges.

Yes he was/is a brilliant character. Eminently playable. 

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4 hours ago, MOB said:

The baboon Melo Yelo was fun to play, because he desperately wanted to be a Sun Dome Templar and could follow them around and attempt to "act" like they did, all the while attempting to overcome his apely-urges.

In our current campaign, Melo Yelo has become King of Dragon Pass!

Of course, it took a number of HeroQuests and a lot of jiggery-pokery.

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5 hours ago, Yelm's Light said:

And if you want to be That Guytm who blithely butchers some of the basic logic and interactions of the world, more power to you.  But you might as well play generic D&D or BRP, because it's not Glorantha.

Oh noes!  It's not canonical?  How will I live with myself?  

Oh, btw https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

nerdrage.jpg

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Posted (edited)

(never mind)

Edited by Roko Joko
I thought I had deleted this

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