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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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