Jump to content
Crel

RQG Pavis Campaign

Recommended Posts

Hey all. I'm setting up a campaign set in New Pavis for RQG in the next few weeks. My premise is that Argrath has just conquered the city, and has put out a call for adventurers for an expedition into the Big Rubble (amidst all the chaos of conquest and the loss of stability enforced by the Lunars). I could use some suggestions, advice, and brainstorming on a few topics:

  • Good McGuffins to go ruin-delving for in the Rubble
  • What sort of personality to play for Argrath & Co.
  • Argrath's powers and skills (because I just know that at some point he'll need to be the 'bigger & badder & keeps the party in line')
  • Other story and conflict seed ideas (especially if it can make use of existing material)
  • Advice on parties with multiple species (I plan to offer humans, ducks, morokanth, baboons, newtlings, dark trolls, and trollkin)
  • What in the world really is the White Bull Society?

I'm kind of thinking to just run them through Balastor's Barracks (because the Axe is a pretty good McGuffin), but that might be too lethal for beginning adventurers. I've played a fair amount of RQ3, but haven't GM'd RuneQuest in any iteration, nor have I played RQG at all yet.

So far, I'm thinking to play Argrath a bit like how Conan is presented in Robert E. Howard's The Scarlet Citadel. A barbarian who conquers and is focused on his own desire for revenge on the Lunars and seizing what he pleases, but who (almost accidentally) turns out to be a decent king, probably due to his Honor Passion. I think that the timeline puts him in Pavis from Sea Season through Earth Season (based on the Glorantha Sourcebook), with the conquest pretty early in 1625? So, I'm currently thinking that he conquers Pavis, but isn't super interested in keeping it (wanting to invade Sartar, then getting rebuffed [GS p.39]), and then the Dragonrise happens and Starbrow conquers Sartar so Argrath settles into Pavis for a few more seasons.

Some stories I'm intending to fiddle with are Argrath's handling of the Grantlands/Rone County, the civil strife in Sun County, and becoming accepted by the citizens of Pavis. I figure the people of New Pavis are glad the Lunars are gone, but aren't exactly pleased about a bunch of filthy nomads roaming their streets... And maybe Argrath gets extra ambitious in winning their favor, and tries re-establishing the temples in the Big Rubble on Temple Hill or wherever that one is which the Yelmalions and Aldryami hold sacred.

For resources, I've got all the RQG materials, Borderlands & Beyond (which I've read), Pavis & Big Rubble (which I've skimmed), and the Glorantha Sourcebook (which I've skimmed). I'm not terribly concerned about staying canonical.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, for beginning characters the Big Rubble is indeed a dangerous place.  It would be a decent way to narratively describe the heights of power that the characters may face/wield in the future by being essentially pickets and guardsmen for Argrath's essay into the Rubble.

I think I would be keen to describe lots of the stuff going on but have the PCs interact more with sergeants than the great man himself.  I would have them fight rubble runners and wraiths and have them dragged onto the Hero Plane at somepoint to battle trolls/chaos creatures.  It would be for you to ensure that their contribution was necessary and, at some level, heroic rather than being onlookers to the betters.  

My biggest  reason for taking them there is that it is a fantastic playpen for all kinds of adventures - it has funky magical effects - it contains almost everything you might want for a long campaign arc - you would be able to presage future adventures.  So, for example, in the Hero Plane they fight trolls which are looking to disrupt whatever quest Argrath is undertaking but their part of that leads them to fight other trolls which carry a "secret" - the secret, when they get back should lead to a troll stronghold that contains a map to Balastor's Barracks.  In my Glorantha the exact location of the barracks are long lost, otherwise why have they not already been ransacked.  

There should be several ways to give the players strings to pull that lead them in a variety of ways depending on whether they are interested in magic, combat or exploration...

 

Stephen

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While the Rubble is dangerous, I think the so-far published scenarios for beginning characters are a stretch too... but without having played 'em I don't know whether the new power level is actually enough for 3rd-session adventurers to be taking on Dream Dragons...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, womble said:

While the Rubble is dangerous, I think the so-far published scenarios for beginning characters are a stretch too... but without having played 'em I don't know whether the new power level is actually enough for 3rd-session adventurers to be taking on Dream Dragons...

Sure, where do you go after that?

But we played the defending Apple Lane scenario the other day, and I was a bit worried about the Tusk Riders, but the PCs did pretty well in taking them out because they have no missiles and not much offensive spell ability (at least outside of melee). Mind you it didn't help that two of them (including the leader) fumbled rolls badly enough to take themselves out of the fight.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, womble said:

While the Rubble is dangerous, I think the so-far published scenarios for beginning characters are a stretch too... but without having played 'em I don't know whether the new power level is actually enough for 3rd-session adventurers to be taking on Dream Dragons...

We just did that adventure with some very lightly seasoned characters, just about a year or two into the Red Cow Campaign. Our GM threw it at us during a season of downtime. The dragon got absolutely freaking REKT. Not a very threatening Dream Dragon, especially if you get all the tools and tips to take it down. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Argrath, it is strongly implied, is an illuminate. He would be much more intentional and deliberate than any Conan. He is beyond motivations like revenge, though others might see his motivations that way. He is careful, deliberate, and mindful. He is a mystic in his own right, with (literally) a unique perspective on worldly events and politics. He is not looking ahead to Sartar; he is looking ahead to the possible destruction of the Red Moon; Sartar is just something that will happen along the way. That is what the players should see: an otherworldly patience and sense of inevitability (to quote Agent Smith). Remember that Argrath isn’t trying to take on this or that group of people. He’s waging war against a Goddess, and he thinks he can win - and he’s got reason to believe he can.

He is a Hero: I wouldn’t worry about powers, stats, or abilities - his lieutenants should be powerful enough to wipe the floor with the player characters several times over without breaking a sweat. And the party should be very aware of that fact. Argrath has access to plot changing, map sculpting power. He has the equivalent of several vastly powerful Wyters at his command and can probably dump the equivalent of 100’s of rune points on SR 1 of the first round with little more than a wave of his hand. He commands spirits and elementals with powers and abilities that are unique and unknowable. His lieutenants command vastly powerful Wyters and have legendary abilities and allies of their own. 

Play up the real scope of his goals and intentions. Let the players measure themselves against that, if they’re getting to big for their britches. If they think they can go toe to toe with a would be god-killer, then they deserve whatever they get. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Thyrwyn said:

Argrath, it is strongly implied, is an illuminate. He would be much more intentional and deliberate than any Conan. He is beyond motivations like revenge, though others might see his motivations that way. He is careful, deliberate, and mindful. He is a mystic in his own right, with (literally) a unique perspective on worldly events and politics. He is not looking ahead to Sartar; he is looking ahead to the possible destruction of the Red Moon; Sartar is just something that will happen along the way. That is what the players should see: an otherworldly patience and sense of inevitability (to quote Agent Smith). Remember that Argrath isn’t trying to take on this or that group of people. He’s waging war against a Goddess, and he thinks he can win - and he’s got reason to believe he can.

It's interesting that in the end the saga is quite equivocal on whether he helps the Red Goddess turn into the White, or he destroys the Moon. I think the chief impediment to his mystic path is his pursuit of the Moon's destruction. In the end, he seems to 'help' the Moon transform, thus fulfilling his vow without being consumed by its original purpose and youthful rage. This may already be forming in his mind/destiny - after all he weds a descendant of Sedenya and the Emperor and allies with aspects of the Red Goddess against Sheng Seleris.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Argrath is a mystical force at least as much as he is a mystic himself. His very name means "Liberator", and it seems that he is destined to liberate quite a few entities, whether in Ralios, Sheng Seleris (twice, once from Hell, once from his physical existence), the Lunar Empire, the Red Moon, and the entire collection of divinity. At times he appears to take the role of the Liberating Bolt, at other times he facilitates utuma.

This suggests a lot less deliberation and a lot weird mystical insight to me. Illumination may allow him some detachment from his obvious passions, when he decides to do so, but on the whole Argrath acts as a model Orlanthi leader, with all the exaggerated passion and emotion. Almost like a superhero-setting major villain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Joerg said:

on the whole Argrath acts as a model Orlanthi leader, with all the exaggerated passion and emotion. Almost like a superhero-setting major villain.

This is the direction I'm kind of leaning. The problem I have with Argrath, as a GM, is that for me he has come across as boring. I've read King of Sartar and his sections of the Glorantha Sourcebook, and in trying to make him mysterious and powerful he just seems bland, without emotion. That's why I'm considering nicking odds and ends of Conan for how to play him interacting with the players. (It's worth pointing out that the Conan of The Scarlet Citadel is far, far away from being an impulsive brute. He's a just king and clever strategist, while retaining barbarian instinct and lust for life.) My hunch is that it'll make him a more compelling and memorable (non-player) character.

18 hours ago, StephenMcG said:

dragged onto the Hero Plane at some point to battle trolls/chaos creatures

Could you elaborate? I don't understand how going to the Hero Plane "just happens."

How dangerous, really, should the Big Rubble be represented? I mean, from my skim of Pavis & Big Rubble it sounds like normal (or normal-ish) folks actually live there. Sure, there's going to be some really nasty spots, and some places with crazy old magic running rampant, but my understanding is that it's not insane for new RQG characters to explore parts of it. As long as you try to stay away from the known nasty areas. It doesn't come across to me as "everyone who goes in there dies!"

I've been brainstorming and scribbling a little, and I'm thinking I'll start with an adventure situated in the Rubble, but only tangentially involved with the ruins itself. It's Sea Season, and a troll clan got flooded out of their old caves (perhaps in addition to feuding with another of the troll clans in the Rubble--I'm leaning toward having eaten another clan's Value trollkin as the cause, parallel to raiding cattle). They settled in a ruined Knowledge temple or Second Age sorcery school, ate all the books, then found some tunnels as they looked through the vaults for more things to eat, which led past the Rubble's walls. So they started raiding in Pavis County. Not a lot of killing (yet), since the humans have just fled, but lots of sheep and other animals eaten.

Enough people complain (including an Issaries peddler who lost her donkeys) so Argrath tries to set up a group to destroy what seems like a small-ish group of bandits. One of his lieutenants & warriors through the tunnel and his new pet adventurers through the temple (or maybe the other way around). Hopefully, the players will try negotiating or finding creative solutions once they realize it's a whole clan down there, but the other group of warriors would give me a potential contingency. "Oh, look, we've arrived just in time!..." etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Crel said:

Could you elaborate? I don't understand how going to the Hero Plane "just happens."

In RQ3, you could get there with just a roll on the encounter table. Later I heard Greg say that he thinks it's harder than that, that there aren't really any places where the otherworld and the middle world touch, there's always a barrier to overcome to cross over. I don't know where current thinking is on that equation. In my glorantha, there are such places, and heroes weaken the barrier and make such accidental crossings more likely just by being around.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Overcoming that barrier may have been the fight or the river crossing behind you. As a rule, the entry into the hero realm is associated with some sort of test - could be a roll to find your way, could be anything.

Another typical entry form is the encounter with the guardian figure, which may be a human, a wild beast, or maybe even a tree or something like that.

And it needn't be a single test. Quests usually offer a series of tests, with some that you are more or less supposed to fail. The quester can rarely script quests into which he gets drawn without ritual preparation. It is possible for the genre-savvy heroquester to identify a mythic story to follow, but as often as not it is all right to follow the character's own determination, letting fate shape the path on which to walk, if you have a destiny behind you (or ahead of you).

Campbell with his sequence of Call to Action and Refusal of the Call come into this, too.

Encounters on the journey are how the GM can pull the player characters into a quest. If there is an encounter at a transitional place (a ford, bridge, shore, border, a welcome by a clan patrol), it may signify a (partial) translation into the more magical place of questing. Sometimes the translation can occur by resting in a place.

Arthurian questing is a lot like that. Gloranthan questing can be like this. There are of course other, "official" ways that involve worship services with your soul joining the winds to Orlanth's Hall, feasting, choosing an exit, etc. etc., but that's almost like cheating outside of your ambitions to become more like the deity.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like to push the characters onto the Hero Plane in a variety of ways.  It is a good way to emphasise the magical underpinning of the setting.

If they are going into the Rubble with Argrath then there is going to be some hefty magic going on.  If Argrath is questing then there is every chance  those on the periphery will get swept up in the magics and into the Hero Plane.  They may also get swept up into the quest of some of Argrath's opponents who need cult appropriate enemies to defeat. 🙂

Personally, I use HeroQuest rules when they get onto the Hero Plane to get a different play feel - a more narrative environment where rules are easier to bend.  

Stephen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Overcoming that barrier may have been the fight or the river crossing behind you. As a rule, the entry into the hero realm is associated with some sort of test - could be a roll to find your way, could be anything.

Another typical entry form is the encounter with the guardian figure, which may be a human, a wild beast, or maybe even a tree or something like that.

Maybe if you overcame the barrier with entirely mundane means (swim, regular combat skills), then there is little to no chance that you crossed into the heroic world. If you used magic (Flight, Leap, elementals, loads of combat magic vs the guardian), then you may well cross over. The magic weakened the barrier, brought the worlds closer. Of course that means you start off short of magic, which is why the crossing over magic is usually done by the community when you're questing on purpose.

Edited by PhilHibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, StephenMcG said:

If they are going into the Rubble with Argrath then there is going to be some hefty magic going on.  If Argrath is questing then there is every chance  those on the periphery will get swept up in the magics and into the Hero Plane.  They may also get swept up into the quest of some of Argrath's opponents who need cult appropriate enemies to defeat.

I'm thinking of Argrath more as employer, than participant. He's in a situation where he has twenty problem-solvers and two hundred problems, hence the call for adventurers. I'm planning for them to get swept along and interact with the King, but not really to be fighting alongside him. He's busy with big stuff, so they're handling other stuff (and, as they grow in power, graduate to the big stuff).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Joerg said:

There are of course other, "official" ways that involve worship services with your soul joining the winds to Orlanth's Hall, feasting, choosing an exit, etc. etc.

This is closer to what I'm familiar with when I think of "heroquesting." I've played a fair amount of RQ (though nothing compared to most on this forum), but never ended up on the Hero Plane. Of course, this is partially because my GM prefers the Skill/5 (or harder) interpretation of heroquesting, and you need some serious skill percentages to be ready for that.

I can see how specific places might encourage the transition. It was the notion of "oops, I'm on the Hero Plane now I guess" which confused/bothered me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Crel said:

It was the notion of "oops, I'm on the Hero Plane now I guess" which confused/bothered me.

Well, I think that I am more likely to do that kind of the thing in the Rubble than many other places, like I say, it is pretty funky in magic terms...

I tend to allow them to go to the Rubble and adventure but they know that there is always a chance they find themselves in much deeper water than they planned.  People do live there and people do survive.  The safe routes are specific and once off the beaten track the risks are more variable than they might be in many other areas in Glorantha.  Big risk, big reward is what draws people to the area.

My campaign is still many years back as I build the characters up to the Cradle scenario - fantastic for players to experience - RQG is going to need an adventure as epic as this one pretty soon...

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Maybe if you overcame the barrier with entirely mundane means (swim, regular combat skills), then there is little to no chance that you crossed into the heroic world. If you used magic (Flight, Leap, elementals, loads of combat magic vs the guardian), then you may well cross over. The magic weakened the barrier, brought the worlds closer. Of course that means you start off short of magic, which is why the crossing over magic is usually done by the community when you're questing on purpose.

I don't think that simple RQ magic is the key here. If your "entirely mundane" activity has a mythic resonance, then it will be a test of magic.

Think e.g. about Enjossi swimming up the Lyksos and the New River, and leaping up a couple of rapids in the Stream, to bring back the salmon to the Stream. Those leaps up the rapids may well have been magic, but the swimming was a mundane activity.

Using rune magic will push you on that deity's paths. Good for you if you want to navigate the quest along known lines, using your cult lore skill. Doing it from your own skills may establish something like a feat, or a cult skill to teach. Or a community bonus.

2 hours ago, Crel said:

This is closer to what I'm familiar with when I think of "heroquesting."

This doesn't quite cover the "you've been drawn into an antagonist's heroquest, now play your part to benefit him or prove yourself, thwart his designs and take home a boon from it if you're lucky" sort of quest I like to inflict on player characters.

There are such events in Biturian's travels, like his Sun County episode (where he failed to get a meaningful boon) or the Zorak Zoran episode with Rurik dropping in. Situations like these suit my style of GMing and narrating better. And you can drop the player characters in medias res, avoiding the "refusal to take on the quest" bit that may be the most applicable of all the Campbell stages of the hero's quest in GMing.

 

2 hours ago, Crel said:

I've played a fair amount of RQ (though nothing compared to most on this forum), but never ended up on the Hero Plane. Of course, this is partially because my GM prefers the Skill/5 (or harder) interpretation of heroquesting, and you need some serious skill percentages to be ready for that.

Old style Super-RuneQuest, or "you need to be a rune lord to accomplish anything on the hero plane" style questing?

Thanks to RQG, you now have abilities in 13 runes (3 elements, 8 powers, man and beast), and you can use those as your moral compass on the quest. This gives you a basic set of abilities for any kind of quests which demand judgement or other decisions, e.g. "seduce the hag" type of interaction. Many of the RQ skills can be regarded as sort of binary - you have them, then in the hero plane there will be a way to embody them. High percentages make your life easier, and take some of the "being you" and "becoming you" out of the Other Side experience.

As we have learned, people are expected to undergo 2 initiations on average. Do you expect to enter these initiation quests with rune lord level skills?

2 hours ago, Crel said:

I can see how specific places might encourage the transition. It was the notion of "oops, I'm on the Hero Plane now I guess" which confused/bothered me.

Often enough, circumstances will make a place encouraging.

And Glorantha is a patchwork world, with somewhat hastily reconnected shards of reality. Transition between such shards may occur in rather unsuspecting places, and might occasionally offer a continuation on the Godtime continuity of the shard you would normally leave. The hero plane may be closer than you suspect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Crel said:

This is the direction I'm kind of leaning. The problem I have with Argrath, as a GM, is that for me he has come across as boring. I've read King of Sartar and his sections of the Glorantha Sourcebook, and in trying to make him mysterious and powerful he just seems bland, without emotion. That's why I'm considering nicking odds and ends of Conan for how to play him interacting with the players. (It's worth pointing out that the Conan of The Scarlet Citadel is far, far away from being an impulsive brute. He's a just king and clever strategist, while retaining barbarian instinct and lust for life.) My hunch is that it'll make him a more compelling and memorable (non-player) character.

I'd model him on Greg myself.

He spends a lot of time listening. Occasionally he interjects. At the end of the conversation he throws something out there that makes you re-evaluate the premise of the conversation. He chuckles. You meet him a year later. He still remembers the first conversation and brings it up again. He asks about your family, and remembers things about them.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

It's interesting that in the end the saga is quite equivocal on whether he helps the Red Goddess turn into the White, or he destroys the Moon. I think the chief impediment to his mystic path is his pursuit of the Moon's destruction. In the end, he seems to 'help' the Moon transform, thus fulfilling his vow without being consumed by its original purpose and youthful rage. This may already be forming in his mind/destiny - after all he weds a descendant of Sedenya and the Emperor and allies with aspects of the Red Goddess against Sheng Seleris.

Not to mention he allies with the dragons and the whole Red Moon destruction/White Moon birth is one giant Ouroboros moment.

I don't think his long term goal is the destruction of the Red Moon.  I think it was always bigger than that.  I think he was always going to destroy ALL the gods and rebuild the world into a new age.

Edited by Pentallion
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Crel said:

This is the direction I'm kind of leaning. The problem I have with Argrath, as a GM, is that for me he has come across as boring. I've read King of Sartar and his sections of the Glorantha Sourcebook, and in trying to make him mysterious and powerful he just seems bland, without emotion. That's why I'm considering nicking odds and ends of Conan for how to play him interacting with the players. (It's worth pointing out that the Conan of The Scarlet Citadel is far, far away from being an impulsive brute. He's a just king and clever strategist, while retaining barbarian instinct and lust for life.) My hunch is that it'll make him a more compelling and memorable (non-player) character.

I use Argrath a lot in our games. My players either fear and distrust him or are fanatically loyal to him  - or both. He's a dangerous charismatic trickster with thousands of killers, many of whom worship him as a demigod. He's a strange foreigner with disturbing ideas, who is at the same time clearly favoured by Orlanth. He's surrounded by sorcerers, madmen, Praxians, tricksters, Wolf Pirates, foreigners, and monsters. His behaviour often seems mad, his goals even madder. And yet, he's the most successful opponent against the Lunar Empire the world has seen since Sheng Seleris. 

In short, he's a GM delight. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jeff said:

I use Argrath a lot in our games. My players either fear and distrust him or are fanatically loyal to him  - or both. He's a dangerous charismatic trickster with thousands of killers, many of whom worship him as a demigod. He's a strange foreigner with disturbing ideas, who is at the same time clearly favoured by Orlanth. He's surrounded by sorcerers, madmen, Praxians, tricksters, Wolf Pirates, foreigners, and monsters. His behaviour often seems mad, his goals even madder. And yet, he's the most successful opponent against the Lunar Empire the world has seen since Sheng Seleris. 

In short, he's a GM delight. 

Sort of a cross between Merlin (mad and given to sinister insight) and Arthur (charismatic and innovative)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Crel said:

The problem I have with Argrath, as a GM, is that for me he has come across as boring. I've read King of Sartar and his sections of the Glorantha Sourcebook, and in trying to make him mysterious and powerful he just seems bland, without emotion.

Argrath can come across as calm and mystical.  And then there is the cold-blooded killer that strikes down the assassins, that has no love for the Red Moon, etc.  He's in a great ravenkaaz game with the Red Emperor for control of the world, and is willing to bring in anyone who can help him win (including tyrants like Mularik Iron-eye, tricksters like Elusu, sorcerers, crazed mystics, …).  This guy is weird and very, very dangerous.  He's not Harrek - he won't off you for a perceived slight or go into a rage - but he is unpredictable.  He'll reject what the traditionalist Orlanthi or Praxians want.  He'll meet with dragonewts and trolls.  Just when you think you have a handle on him, he does the opposite.  He is Change and Liberation - and for most folk that is very, very scary since you don't know what repercussions it will have (and maybe he doesn't care!). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, StephenMcG said:

The safe routes are specific and once off the beaten track the risks are more variable than they might be in many other areas in Glorantha.  Big risk, big reward is what draws people to the area.

This is closer to what I'm thinking & expecting to play the Rubble as. Start them in safe (or safe-ish) areas, and work their way deeper & more dangerous. Loosely thinking the first story "arc" will be Sea Season through the end of Fire Season, when Argrath unsuccessfully attacks Lunar-occupied Sartar. Probably do three-ish adventures through then (maybe including the failed Sartar campaign). I'm thinking retaking Temple Hill for the Orlanthi & re-establishing those temples being the long goal of the game, which Argrath or one of his lieutenants has in mind but the adventurers are unaware.

14 hours ago, Jeff said:

My players either fear and distrust him or are fanatically loyal to him  - or both.

Do you have suggestions on how to encourage this? The way I've been trying to think about Argrath-the-character is in terms of Passions, and that's what I've been struggling with. None of my players will know anything about Glorantha, so I don't really have a baseline to work from for "Look, he's weird and does XYZ when everyone else does ABC!" I'm trying to think of a way to show this weirdness instead of just telling the players "He's a charismatic trickster" and expecting them to buy it. Showing others worshiping him, maybe? Taking it a stage beyond normal conceptions of royalty to include odd magical effects, stuff like that? (I mean this less as "Jeff, tell me how to play!" and more as a plea for advice :))

When I think through Dragon Pass in terms of story & plot, it seems to me like Argrath isn't (yet) the center of the story in 1625. Harrek, Broyan, and Kallyr are much more at the center. From the Glorantha Sourcebook it seems that Argrath's already formed a few units of the Sartar Magical Union (the Eaglebrown Warlocks, maybe the Egglord Warlocks, the Warm Sisters, and Sir Narib's Company, I think), and Kallyr basically has allied a couple others, though Argrath strengthens them (the Eleven Lights & the Stormwalkers), so the "Figure out Mystical Warlock Secrets" plot arc is over. I feel like Argrath's Fire Season 1625 failure is really important to the story, even though sources seem to just kind of gloss it over. He's not invincible, nor infallible. It also opens space for Kallyr to begin the Hero Wars with the Dragonrise, and then Argrath is out of the picture basically until she dies.

What does Argrath want, immediately? To liberate Sartar--he wants it enough that he barely spends any time in Prax. So why's he in Prax? To build up his army. Call for adventurers, that works there too. I figure he wants more than just an army, but I'm not yet sure what. Maybe he founds the Egglord Warlocks around this time, using new Second-Age secrets left behind in the Rubble?

Just kind of thinking "out loud."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, to show a contrast you need to establish a baseline.  My biggest task with a group of Glorantha newbies was to establish in their heads what was ‘normal’ for Glorantha, or indeed what was normal for the bit they came from.  Adventurers are, by their very nature, a more eclectic, rule-breaking group than the vast majority of everyone else.  They need to feel the constraints that apply to everyone else in their society, so that they can appreciate when they break the rules and possibly understand how far someone else is going.

in every part of Glorantha rule-breaking is feared as it often leads to chaos or god-learner-ism or worse!  There are pretty good practical reasons to be socially conservative.  I think I might spend a little time introducing Arbroath, have him sweep through, doing what he does, but have the adventurers clean up the disruption, socially and magically, have them appreciate what a deep trough he is ploughing through the world.  Let them see the good and bad (always a bit of both in wartime).

In every campaign I ever played it has been better to show than tell, but it does take such a long time to get gamers to invest in your world.  Well worth it for a group likely to remain together for the long haul...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Crel said:

This is closer to what I'm thinking & expecting to play the Rubble as. Start them in safe (or safe-ish) areas, and work their way deeper & more dangerous. Loosely thinking the first story "arc" will be Sea Season through the end of Fire Season, when Argrath unsuccessfully attacks Lunar-occupied Sartar. Probably do three-ish adventures through then (maybe including the failed Sartar campaign). I'm thinking retaking Temple Hill for the Orlanthi & re-establishing those temples being the long goal of the game, which Argrath or one of his lieutenants has in mind but the adventurers are unaware.

Do you have suggestions on how to encourage this? The way I've been trying to think about Argrath-the-character is in terms of Passions, and that's what I've been struggling with. None of my players will know anything about Glorantha, so I don't really have a baseline to work from for "Look, he's weird and does XYZ when everyone else does ABC!" I'm trying to think of a way to show this weirdness instead of just telling the players "He's a charismatic trickster" and expecting them to buy it. Showing others worshiping him, maybe? Taking it a stage beyond normal conceptions of royalty to include odd magical effects, stuff like that? (I mean this less as "Jeff, tell me how to play!" and more as a plea for advice :))

When I think through Dragon Pass in terms of story & plot, it seems to me like Argrath isn't (yet) the center of the story in 1625. Harrek, Broyan, and Kallyr are much more at the center. From the Glorantha Sourcebook it seems that Argrath's already formed a few units of the Sartar Magical Union (the Eaglebrown Warlocks, maybe the Egglord Warlocks, the Warm Sisters, and Sir Narib's Company, I think), and Kallyr basically has allied a couple others, though Argrath strengthens them (the Eleven Lights & the Stormwalkers), so the "Figure out Mystical Warlock Secrets" plot arc is over. I feel like Argrath's Fire Season 1625 failure is really important to the story, even though sources seem to just kind of gloss it over. He's not invincible, nor infallible. It also opens space for Kallyr to begin the Hero Wars with the Dragonrise, and then Argrath is out of the picture basically until she dies.

What does Argrath want, immediately? To liberate Sartar--he wants it enough that he barely spends any time in Prax. So why's he in Prax? To build up his army. Call for adventurers, that works there too. I figure he wants more than just an army, but I'm not yet sure what. Maybe he founds the Egglord Warlocks around this time, using new Second-Age secrets left behind in the Rubble?

Just kind of thinking "out loud."

Argrath spends 1625 and 1626 in Prax gathering an army of Praxians and adventurers, and building his White Bull cult. Late 1626/early 1627 he brings that army into Dragon Pass and routes the Lunars at Alda-Chur, and becomes Prince of that area. He then marches around Sartar gathering allies before entering Boldhome and lights the Flame of Sartar.

His usual interaction with players are:

1. I need you to do something. For example, "there's a blue sword put up as a dark troll trophy in the temple to Zorak Zoran on Temple Hill. I need you to get it. I don't care how, but we NEED it." Or, "on the northern part of Ogre Island there are some ruins. In the ruins, there's a dead tree where the ogres like to hang their victims - if you search near the base of the ruins, you'll find a well or some other opening. I need you to go down there and find me a strange metal object made out of wheels and circles. Mularik, would you show them your book? We NEED you to find it and bring it back." That sort of stuff. The requests are strange and dangerous, and the reason why they are needed is never given beforehand. Perhaps afterwards it is mentioned that the blue sword is Ormtongue, a weapon from the EWF, or the strange metal object is a God Learner map of the Gods World.

2. The players need something from him. Perhaps Yazurkial Blue Llama has threatened to kill them over some obscure rivalry. Perhaps the adventurers need resources, information, or want to loot some part of the Big Rubble claimed by someone else. That means meeting with Argrath and getting his support. Which means dealing with his court of madmen and killers.

3. Argrath offers the players something. From as simple as, "I'm giving you control over the Twin Hills - do with it what you want," to "I can teach you how to Discorporate." or "I can teach you something about the Hero Plane." These tend to be the most dangerous interactions.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×