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Shimozakura

Planning a Rathori campaign

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I'm planning a short beginner-friendly campaign on HQG of a group of Rathori bear people waking up in 1607 as a part of the second awakening. I'm imaging the Rathori family community as a band of 5-20 individuals including men, women and children in both man and bear form. The community would roam the forest from Sea to Earth season, gather together with the tribe into semi-permanent dwellings in late Earth season for their rituals, and sleep through the winter.

For runes, I'm thinking of recommending my players a combination of any elemental rune, the spirit rune and the beast rune, but from a purely gaming system perspective I'm questioning the utility of recommending the beast rune to players who already have the spirit rune. While the beast rune will allow them to turn into bears and be bear-ish, the spirit rune will also allow that plus a ton of other stuff. Do you see any reason why a player might want to emphasize the beast rune over the spirit one?

For spirits societies, I'm thinking about improvising along the Balazarian lines but without any pig, dog and hawk spirits (I'll probably need to add in a warrior spirit society open to both sexes) and with the (still living) Great White Bear as the tradition spirit. I imagine that the eventual death of the Great White Bear in the hands of Harrek the Berserk will cause the descendants of the Great White Bear to wrestle for supremacy of the Tradition, plunging the Rathori into internal strife and intensive heroquesting.

As a side note, I'd also like your opinion on one facet of the Uncoligns, the reindeer people. It says on the Guide that the "Uncoling reindeer folk believe that they are reindeer who just happen to be able to turn into humans". What, then, should one make of the fact that the human members of the Uncoli eat the reindeer members of their flock while the reindeer Uncoli do not? This is something else than the Praxian Covenant because the Uncoli believe man and reindeer to be one and the same. I like to imagine that the Uncoli have a great deal of myth and ritualization surrounding this  "interspecies cannibalism" and draw some of their great magical powers from it. The Uncoli are badass. I bet they secretly consider the rumors of Wolverine tribe's cannibalism as cute.

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The second awakeners come out of hibernation when Rathor the White Bear God still is alive and well.

I do wonder what happened to their White Bear cultist guardians of their hibernation. Did they experience normal time during the Ban? If so, did they manage to form some sort of survival cult to provide generations of guardians?

And what about other Hsunchen sharing the Rathori territory? Does the Rathori hibernation pull the entire sections of Rathorela into the timeless slumber of the Underworld? What about the Green Elves?

These questions aren't answered by the Guide, which means you'll have to decide for your campaign.

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2 hours ago, Shimozakura said:

For runes, I'm thinking of recommending my players a combination of any elemental rune, the spirit rune and the beast rune, but from a purely gaming system perspective I'm questioning the utility of recommending the beast rune to players who already have the spirit rune. While the beast rune will allow them to turn into bears and be bear-ish, the spirit rune will also allow that plus a ton of other stuff. Do you see any reason why a player might want to emphasize the beast rune over the spirit one?

Hsunchen hang their spirit magic off their beast rune. I would suggest that the standard format be followed, elemental, power, beast or spirit.

spirit maybe more useful to those becoming Shaman.

you might find this helpful:

http://www.glorantha.com/docs/balazar-hq2-keywords-and-magic/

https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/6315-starting-runes/?tab=comments#comment-89865

 

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Element/beast/spirit sounds good to me since it gives them a menu of 5 things to choose from, not too complicated.

Beast - physical stuff, animals, shapeshifting, bearish qualities

Spirit - spiritual stuff, spirits, eccentric qualities

Shapeshifting could be a full transform or it could be more partial, like "you can have breakout abilities to grow muscles or fur or claws"; your call.

Edited by Roko Joko

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2 hours ago, Shimozakura said:

For runes, I'm thinking of recommending my players a combination of any elemental rune, the spirit rune and the beast rune, but from a purely gaming system perspective I'm questioning the utility of recommending the beast rune to players who already have the spirit rune. While the beast rune will allow them to turn into bears and be bear-ish, the spirit rune will also allow that plus a ton of other stuff. Do you see any reason why a player might want to emphasize the beast rune over the spirit one?

Hsunchen hang their spirit magic off their beast rune. I would suggest that the standard format be followed, elemental, power, beast or spirit.

spirit maybe more useful to those becoming Shaman.

you might find this helpful:

http://www.glorantha.com/docs/balazar-hq2-keywords-and-magic/

https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/6315-starting-runes/?tab=comments#comment-89865

 

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In my campaign, all Rathori sleep throught the winter, leaving no guardians but instead relying on their magic to keep their dwellings safe (those who cannot hibernate are not truly a part of the bear people and are exiled from their clans before autumn). The green elves can also have local defence pacts with singular Rathori tribes, and the shamans of other peoples as well as the elves dissuade any opportunistic clansmen from attempting unwanted intrusions. If an intrusion did happen, the slumbering Rathori would briefly awaken to defend their burrow.

The other Hsunchen sharing the territory will be much surprised to see the long gone bear people awaken, and further so to realize that the ban has been lifted at the same time. The numbers of the other Hsunchen have doubtlessly grown during the 100 year period but not as much as once could think, because although the Rathori haven't been there to take their share of the forest's resources, they haven't been able to bolster the bountifulness of the forest with their magic either. Still, there won't be much to go around which is one reason why many of the Rathori will leave the forest to hire out as mercanaries for the Janube River States and the Kingdom of War.

One of the problems in interacting with the other Hsunchen peoples is the lack of a common language. The God of the Silver Feet is dead and gone so people can't simply just talk to one another as they used to do in the times of the Empire, which to the PCs was just yesterday. I'm thinking of establishing the customs and the language of the green elves as the new benchmark in diplomacy, since that's the one set of culture and language in the region that has been vital for survival.

Thanks for your opinions on the runes. I think that Roko Joko's suggestion on runes may be easier for beginners, although it may hinder things if the players want to convert to some of the rivervalley cults later on so I'll need to think about it. I'll also likely adopt David's approach of giving the option to hang the spirit magic on the beast rune, although one thing does strike me as odd. Why do you say having the spirit rune instead of the beast rune would make it easier to become a shaman? Is it because the beast rune cannot manifest as a fetch, or does basing your spirit magic on the beast rune set some limitations on which societies you can join? (I mean, of course it bars you from switching traditions, but do you mean that it limits your choice of spirit societies within the Great White Bear tradition?)

Thanks for the link Jajagappa! That's just pure gold.

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48 minutes ago, Shimozakura said:

Why do you say having the spirit rune instead of the beast rune would make it easier to become a shaman? Is it because the beast rune cannot manifest as a fetch, or does basing your spirit magic on the beast rune set some limitations on which societies you can join? (I mean, of course it bars you from switching traditions, but do you mean that it limits your choice of spirit societies within the Great White Bear tradition?)

As a shaman you can contact any spirits, even those outside your tradition. Those inside the Hsunchen traditions are always limited to those spirits of the tradition (as per HQG). In this external case, the Spirit rune is more flexible. As a GM I wouldn't let a player shaman hang lunar spirit magic from the Beast rune, although I would certainly allow it from the Spirit rune. The concept of hanging your spirit magic off other runes is core to spirit magic in HQG. Examples are:

Storm Bull spirit magic off the Beast Rune

Lunar spirit magic off a phase.

Kolati spirit magic off the Air rune

Hsunchen spirit magic off the Beast rune

Troll spirit magic off the Darkness rune

Elf spirit magic off the Plant rune

However a shaman is always better prepared if they have the Spirit rune.

Basing your spirit magic off the Beast rune will not prevent you joining any of the societies of the tradition.

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42 minutes ago, David Scott said:

As a GM I wouldn't let a player shaman hang lunar spirit magic from the Beast rune, although I would certainly allow it from the Spirit rune.

Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks.

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36 minutes ago, Shimozakura said:

One of the problems in interacting with the other Hsunchen peoples is the lack of a common language. The God of the Silver Feet is dead and gone so people can't simply just talk to one another as they used to do in the times of the Empire, which to the PCs was just yesterday. I'm thinking of establishing the customs and the language of the green elves as the new benchmark in diplomacy, since that's the one set of culture and language in the region that has been vital for survival.

This is an excellent point which hasn't been raised before, but which makes a lot of sense why Snodal and the Syndics chose to attack the God of the Silver Feet rather than the White Bear spirit itself.

This raises the question whether Dormal's arrival in Loskalm re-awakened the god, or at least his language Tradetalk, or whether a new common language has been distributed by the Kingdom of War.

At least part of the Green Elves are a fairly recent presence, having entered Rathorela only in 1279, and sharing their longbows with the bear folk (Guide p.233) probably set the roots for the White Bear Empire in those 220 years of cohabitation.

There is no indication that the Green Elves were any less friendly to the other Hykimi of Rathorela, but the Rathori physique made them uniquely suitable for the increased strength self bows made from dead wood that the aldryami provided them (at least the wood for).

Contrary to English/Welsh myth, the yew longbow is nothing but a self bow with a penchant to higher than normal draw weights - way heavier than required for ordinary hunting of deer or birds, although well suited for hunting boars, aurochs or similarly well-muscled (i.e. -armored) prey. That unusual draw weight and a rigorous training regime to qualify for the status of the secondary warrior nobility is what created the myth.

But anyway, the myth is continued in Glorantha, so the Rathori are the one human culture to use this dead-wood extra-strong self bow. Coming from a hunter culture with very muscular physique, their elf-provided stave-built bows will outperform other yew bows (even those by other bear cultists like Odaylans) by a factor of possibly 1.5 in terms of range and possibly damage (haven't checked any of the rules).

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Contrary to English/Welsh myth, the yew longbow is nothing but a self bow with a penchant to higher than normal draw weights - way heavier than required for ordinary hunting of deer or birds, although well suited for hunting boars, aurochs or similarly well-muscled (i.e. -armored) prey. That unusual draw weight and a rigorous training regime to qualify for the status of the secondary warrior nobility is what created the myth.

A yew bow, whether classified as a longbow or not, has significant advantages because if well made, the use of yew makes what is otherwise a self bow approach the capabilities of a laminate bow.  A good quality yew bow uses a cut including both sapwood and heartwood - the two have different properties, as sapwood is strong when in tension, the heartwood in compression - and the two together provide a powerful bow without requiring strong glues, or any special treatment other than selecting and making the bow from a single piece of wood. This is why yew self bows were used and preferred in Europe for at least five thousand years over self bows made of any other wood. The oldest we know of was carried by Otzi the Iceman; he hadn't finished making it when he was killed.

Edited by M Helsdon

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The Syndics Ban was caused by the death of the God of the Silver Feet at the hands of a conspiracy led by prince Snodal. It says on the Guide that "a coterie of sorcerers and priests prepared an intricate and elaborate plan and slew him", but does anybody know how this was actually done, or more like what did it take to kill a God who has a lichpin-like significance over an entire region? 

I'm toying with the idea that the conspiracy used Arkati heroquesters to infiltrate one of the God's myths, kill him and disperse his essence elsewhere in the God plane.

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6 hours ago, Shimozakura said:

The Syndics Ban was caused by the death of the God of the Silver Feet at the hands of a conspiracy led by prince Snodal. It says on the Guide that "a coterie of sorcerers and priests prepared an intricate and elaborate plan and slew him", but does anybody know how this was actually done, or more like what did it take to kill a God who has a lichpin-like significance over an entire region? 

I'm toying with the idea that the conspiracy used Arkati heroquesters to infiltrate one of the God's myths, kill him and disperse his essence elsewhere in the God plane.

While I think that Arkati would be involved in such a drastic re-arrangement on the mythic landscape, I would expect them to be on the opposite side.

Even after the God Learners cut off all paths to Arkat on the hero plane, there remained those dark warriors as heroquest obstacles or at least encounters wherever your quest would take you. Your post made me wonder if the Kingdom of War could actually have started as all those foiled guardians gathering mortal followers to right what the Syndics did wrong.

The deity of communication would have been present whenever a negotiation or a deal was made as a stage of a heroquest, but not necessarily in a form you could attack.

From the description of the event, it sounds like a coordinated commando raid at numerous points of attack, taking down the communication with teams far apart striking together. This is similar to the 1042 mass utuma of the dragonspeakers of the EWF or the Umathelan hunt for people who knew or even only knew of that special secret by the GIft Carriers of the Sending Gods.

Snodal may have drawn on methods of Halwal, the God Learner who turned against the God Learners, allying with the most varying groups like pagans, Irensavalists or Arkati.

The choice of the God of Silver Feet as the target was not (only) to undo the cohesion of the White Bear Empire, but to undo the spell by Zzabur that Snodal learned about looking at the future map of Fronela, showing much of it drowned.

(Although I wonder whether that wasn't just a map of the world-wide great flood caused by the glacier plugging Magasta's Pool for a while...)

Apparently Snodal had figured out what was targeted by that spell, and by removing the target, the spell wouldn't be able to take effect.

The exact results of the Syndics' assassination will have come as unexpected consequences.

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

The deity of communication would have been present whenever a negotiation or a deal was made as a stage of a heroquest, but not necessarily in a form you could attack.

From the description of the event, it sounds like a coordinated commando raid at numerous points of attack, taking down the communication with teams far apart striking together. This is similar to the 1042 mass utuma of the dragonspeakers of the EWF or the Umathelan hunt for people who knew or even only knew of that special secret by the GIft Carriers of the Sending Gods.

That's what I thought too, and the multi-point commando raid sounds like the right thing, although I'm not sure if the timing of the teams is so crucial as time is not a factor on the Gods plane.

I was just wondering that if you depart from the actual events of a myth during heroquest and end up with wacky results, the same or almost the same story will still be there the next time you try, right? You'll need some specialized magic to drastically change things in one fell swoop, and I wondered what that might be. I guess wielding Death might do the trick, and I remember reading somewhere about techniques that enable you to quarter a Deity and spread the bits around the Gods plane. Any ideas?

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3 hours ago, Shimozakura said:

That's what I thought too, and the multi-point commando raid sounds like the right thing, although I'm not sure if the timing of the teams is so crucial as time is not a factor on the Gods plane.

It is when it is tied to a big rite in the real world, like the dedication of the New Lunar Temple (that was thwarted by the Dragonrise). Given that the White Bear Empire was the foe of Loskalm, and presumably the civilized city states on the Janube, there might have been a major magic of the White Bear Empire under way which might have served as the focus of the Syndics. No idea about specifics yet.

 

3 hours ago, Shimozakura said:

I was just wondering that if you depart from the actual events of a myth during heroquest and end up with wacky results, the same or almost the same story will still be there the next time you try, right? You'll need some specialized magic to drastically change things in one fell swoop, and I wondered what that might be. I guess wielding Death might do the trick, and I remember reading somewhere about techniques that enable you to quarter a Deity and spread the bits around the Gods plane. Any ideas?

The Death of the God of Silver Feet definitely implies that Death was used.

This makes me wonder a bit about the consequences of the Lightbringers passing through the Gates of Dusk.

We are presented with the weird stuff happening at the Windstop as a consequence of Orlanth having passed into the Underworld. But Orlanth didn't go alone, Issaries was among those who also were dead to the Surface World. Was there as much of a breakdown of communications as we are made to believe the death of Orlanth caused in the Darkness, or was there only a (significant) part of Orlanth away in the Underworld?

From Glorious ReAscent of Yelm, it appears that Orlanth's Ring disappeared, with the stars of the Lightbringers. The Windstop did repeat that feature, world-wide, until the Dragonrise quest undid whatever the foul magics of Tatius had done to the sky presence of the Lightbringers. On the other hand, neither Issaries nor Lhankor Mhy or Chalana Arroy and least of all Eurmal experienced any problems with their magic inside or outside the Windstop area despite the absence of their stars.

(Though, looking at the description of the Dragonrise in King of Sartar, the text doesn't sound like Orlanth's Ring had disappeared after Whitewall. That text complained that it emerged a few days early.

KoS does mention the Eleven Lights, but doesn't elaborate anything about them, and the three new lights would of course have kept the two-weekly cycle of Orlanth's Ring in the sky. But then, Orlanth's magic has never been described as being subject to celestial visibility.)

 

There is a dearth of written documentation about the Greater Darkness while Lhankor Mhy was in Hell. The Silver Age saw the magics of all Lightbringers and even the gifts of Ernalda return to the Surface world in small doses, although only the Dawn itself brought the full release of what was known within Time.

 

With this in mind, maybe the Syndics managed to capture the God of the Silver Feet and to push him through a gate to the Underworld (possibly using the Gate of Banir rather than the Gates of Dusk). The slow process of the Thaw might be a parallel to the long ascent of the Lightbringers from Hell prior to the Dawn. Dormal's arrival in Loskalm (or maybe already at Threestep Isles) may have triggered something in the Underworld, or been accompanied by that. The Lunar efforts followed several years later, with the birth of Jar-eel and her participation in the infants' procession.

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