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Tinkgineer

Starting The Eleven Lights

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Hello.

I have finally convinced human beings to play HeroQuest, and even more to do it in Glorantha.  My knowledge of Glorantha on a scale of 0 (nothing) to 100 (everything) is probably a 1. I purchased The Coming Storm and The Eleven Lights. Then went and also purchased Sartar Kingdom of Heroes and the Glorantha Sourcebook. 

I do not expect my players to purchase any materials until they decide they like the system and setting. I should be able to help them create a character without them needing to fully grasp the rules or the setting.

The first problems that arise are during character creation. My approach is to do this one on one prior to getting everyone in the same room. I've tried to summarize what I can about the Red Cow clan and Glorantha without being overwhelming. Unfortunately it's difficult for me to pair common RPG analogues to the source material. I keep getting feedback about PCs that I'm trying to convert into Glorantha, but there's really no analogue. The setting is so different than fantasy tropes. Magic works so different. Warrior type PCs are easy, but it's the players with a spellcaster in mind a much more complicated. Finding the source of magic for the PC and fitting it into the setting I'm just learning is tricky. If there were some authorized player handouts life would be much easier. If I were to just tell my players to read Ch 2 of The Coming Storm we'd all be able to get through character creation a lot easier, but I don't expect players to spend money on a sourcebook for a setting they are just being introduced to. Are there any PC handouts other than the Sartar Player's Primer?

Has anyone compiled any sort of mapping of common fantasy tropes to character keywords? This would make life much much easier.

I'm drowning in nearly 1000 pages of source materia. Anything anyone can point me to to make things even just a little bit easier is much appreciated.

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I am so jealous!  :)

Part of the appeal of Glorantha is that the common fantasy tropes aren't so common there, but I take your meaning.

If someone wants to play a dedicated "wizard" in a Red Cow campaign, initiating to Lankhor Mhy is the simplest way to go.  Make sure that they take the Truth and Law runes, and work together with the player to come up with some Grimoires that suit their vision.

More broadly, look at how the vision for a character might connect to one or more cults. For example, someone who wants to play a "ranger" might play a character who follows Odayla. 

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Some advice:

I have done some short introductions to Glorantha that go like this, and then got playing. HQG has broad enough keywords and abilities that figuring out the detail can wait. Encourage the players to just pick distinguishing characteristic + occupational keyword and three runes for the first session, using the as-you-go approach. Leave space to add stuff as they know more.

Glorantha: Is a cube floating in a sea, with a sky dome overhead and an underworld below, a bubble floating in formless chaos. It is an Ancient World setting: think Troy, the Odysssey, the Tain, Beowoulf the Norse and Greek myths. It is the world that our Bronze and Iron Age ancestors thought they lived in filled with gods, and magic.

Myth: In the mythic past the gods squabbled. This weakened the divine order and chaos invaded Glorantha and nearly destroyed the world. The Lightrbingers quested to the Underworld to bring back the Sun and restore divine order and end the ages of the gods and begin the ages of man.

Genertela: The northern continent was badly blasted in the war, whole stretches are now wasteland.

Dragon Pass: The northern continent of Genertela is divided by a mountain range called the Rockwoods. Few passes exist through the mountains, one is Dragon Pass. Here the cultures of Peloria - Sun and now Moon worshippers - have clashed with the cultures of Maniria and the Holy Country - Storm worshippers - for generations.

Sartar: Sartar is a kingdom of Storm worshiping barbarians recently invaded by the moon worshipping Lunar Empire from the North. Some of the barbarians collaborate with the Empire, and the riches it brings, even turning to worship of the Moon Goddess, others continue to resist the occupation.

The Orlanthi: Fractious barbarians whose worst enemy is their neighbors, and the occupying Lunar Empire.  Pick some analogues that they might be familiar with for a clan based society, that feuds with their neighbors, steals each others cattle etc. Scottish Highlanders, Germanic tribes (Vikings, Anglo-Saxons), Gauls/Irish or even Cimmerians from Conan. They are not 'exactly that' but it is fine to get started, and many of the designers used those tropes for years (Greg drew heavily on AS models for a long-time because he was also working on Pendragon).

For a new group, you can hold off on a  lot of the Red Cow background for the first few sessions, and then begin to drip feed it in later.

Just describe the clan ring - those are the important folk who set the tone of the clan, everyone knows them. Maybe pick a half dozen other NPCs at most to begin with, include some members of the Lunar garrison for example . Put them on a piece of paper so the players can see who the movers and shakers are.

'The Missing' is designed to introduce the players to the clan, and their chief rivals, the Emerald Sword. Although it's linear, it is supposed to be 'training wheels' for the setting, with plenty of NPCs to offer guidance and help, despite being incapacitated with illness.

Magic is tricky by comparison to some games, because you want folks to make it up. What I usually do though at cons is give each player a handout that copies the typical magic for the runes shared with the god as outlined in S:KoH and the keyword description from S:KoH for their keyword. I also include a few paras on the background.

Don't try to own all the 'detail' at once, introduce it piece-by-piece.

PS It's fine to copy a few pages of this sort of material for in-game handouts btw

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You may wish to get your players to read  princeofsartar.com the online comic- in particular Argarth's initiation (chapter 1). I'm adapting an adventure from the Coming Storm for Runequest Glorantha and I've approached it from what roles are the PCs taking in the clan (and from that what cult). So I'm going for Hunter/ Yinkin, fisher/ Heler-Engizi the sky titan, a rattle born warrior (Orlanth or Vinga depending on gender), Healer/ Ernalda, herder- Orlanth. 

 

If a player wants to play a storm cold killer, then Humakt. 

 

I'd also follow Ian's advice- remember your PCs will have probably not gone far from the Tula. The characters won't have met the whole world, and so neither do the players or you know the whole world. 

 

 

 

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Great advice. Also, if you can get hold of the computer game King of Dragon Pass and play a few turns together it's a fantastic introduction to playing in an Orlanthi clan.

I'll look out one of my typical characters and handouts and upload to help

 

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Some tropes;

Barbarian: Orlanthi mercenary but Beserker: Storm Bull Slightly different: Heler or Elmal

Paladin: Closest is a Humakti (but they are also the stone-cold killer as @Dimbyd says

Thief: Orlanthi thief

Ranger: Orlanthi or Odaylan hunter, maybe even a Yinkini

Cleric: Ernaldan, could be a healer, could also be a support magician delivering buffs.

Magic User: Doesn't really have an equivalent as everyone uses magic. Arcane sorcerors in towers are not really part of the setting. Could be a LM scholar as suggested above, or just a devotee of a god like Ernalda or Orlanth who has all their points in their runes and uses magic to solve problems over their occupational keyword. Occupation might be Priest.

Druid: Probably an Odayla devotee/priest, perhaps a shaman of Kolat

Monk: Doesn't quite fit, but the primary folks focused on martial arts are the Humakti, though its all about swords.

Bard: The closest is an Issaries merchant here (there is a player's god, but its obscure and not found in the Red Cow). I might also opt for a Yinkini if you like playing the 'face-man' of the group who charms everyone.

As you can see the primary way to distinguish a character in Glorantha is cult, or a cult + occupation combo. Even within that, players spending more points on some runes over others might emphasize one side over another, so you might have two Orlanthi, but one is about Movement the other Air.

 

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Being new to this publisher and having spent a lot of time with Harn. One thing that happens over there is the writer for a book will often publish some free additional info that may have been dropped from the published book for space reasons. Does that happen. Eg; do the writers of Eleven Lights have some freebies. I feel this always adds to the value of the product, if you purchase a 200 page book and then have another 20 pages of additional content that is a real bonus and incentive.

 Note; This does not have to be a polished add on.

Allan

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3 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

Paladin: Closest is a Humakti (but they are also the stone-cold killer as @Dimbyd says

I like Elmal for Paladins. Sun-fire for blazing away unholy abominations, Truth for righteousness and loyalty, God of Horses, protector of the people...

The Loyal Thanes are an under-appreciated gem.

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I would probably also use pics of ancient Thracians for Sartarites, and Minoans for Esrolians. Then some mix of Assyrian meets Roman for Lunars. These are not exact fits, but they ar reasonable analogies for reference 

I think The Gloranthan Sourcebook will also be of interest

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17 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

Magic is tricky by comparison to some games, because you want folks to make it up. What I usually do though at cons is give each player a handout that copies the typical magic for the runes shared with the god as outlined in S:KoH

You're referring to the typical abilities provided by rune affinities, e.g. the Orlanthi ones on p.123, right? Thanks for the reminder about this. There's so much good info in S:KoH.

Edited by Steve
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15 hours ago, Aprewett said:

Being new to this publisher and having spent a lot of time with Harn. One thing that happens over there is the writer for a book will often publish some free additional info that may have been dropped from the published book for space reasons. Does that happen. Eg; do the writers of Eleven Lights have some freebies. I feel this always adds to the value of the product, if you purchase a 200 page book and then have another 20 pages of additional content that is a real bonus and incentive.

 Note; This does not have to be a polished add on.

Allan

We are trying to revive Wyrm's Footnotes, the Chaosium house magazine, so some of the cut material will make it's way out via that route instead. If time permits I can probably look at some of my notes from playtest campaigns and see if anything is of good enough quality to 'liberate'. It's a balance between getting that into a good form and working on new stuff.

But I hear you.

Edited by Ian Cooper
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22 minutes ago, Steve said:

You're referring to the typical abilities provided by rune affinities, e.g. the Orlanthi ones on p.123, right? Thanks for the reminder about this. There's so much good info on S:KoH.

Yes!

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Even playtest notes are awesome.  A writer for Pelgrane press who worked on Dying Earth adventures had great playtest notes. Great for lateral ideas. I believe he produced some great thinks for Glorantha also, that are very sadly out of print.

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2 hours ago, Aprewett said:

Even playtest notes are awesome.  A writer for Pelgrane press who worked on Dying Earth adventures had great playtest notes. Great for lateral ideas. I believe he produced some great thinks for Glorantha also, that are very sadly out of print.

The initial material that Ian compiled in the Book of the Red Cow is still available: http://glorantha.temppeli.org/resources/misc/Book of the Red Cow.pdf 

It's set slightly farther back in 1605, but has characters from the prior generation that you could draw on for ideas.

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20 hours ago, jajagappa said:

The initial material that Ian compiled in the Book of the Red Cow is still available: http://glorantha.temppeli.org/resources/misc/Book of the Red Cow.pdf 

It's set slightly farther back in 1605, but has characters from the prior generation that you could draw on for ideas.

Be aware it is an 'earlier' set of days. It's influenced more by the Anglo-Saxon model of the Orlanthi, that Greg had used for a while. I think a closer reading of Thunder Rebels would have  shown HW had already undergone an Iron Age/Bronze age shift, I viewed it through the AS lens of earlier times. Now I would look much more to the Iron Age.

In addition, some of the ideas about the Maboder - no cattle only farming etc. are not reflected there. You don't 'cattle raid' the Maboder. Their wealth is in grain. It's possible they are even mostly vegetarian/pescatarian to avoid the issue of the Telmori raiding them for livestock. They might raid the neighbors for cattle for feasts/holy days but would sacrifice them fairly immediately.

 

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