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StanTheMan

Do Clan chiefs go adventuring?

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So, I have a situation in my game where one of the PCs has become the clan chief (totally player instigated). Anyway, as it happens, there are things to do in the world, and the PCs are set in traveling about to go do it.

Thus the question - is it “okay” for the clan chief to run around adventuring? RQG seems to imply a structure of “one adventure per season”, which is what we’ll fit. So, would an Orlanthi clan accept the chief gallivanting around part of each season, returning, and then going out again next season? Is there an expectation (because of connected to the clan spirits or whatever) that they hang around more or less all the time to govern? Or what?

Because my players definitely want to gallavant around, but this chiefdom thing was a big deal in game. 

Folks?

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I think you should play a different type of adventure.  The clan chief is the clan leader.  Every season's "adventures" should be revolved around events that the clan chieftain had the solve for the good of the clan.  Not climbing Griffen Mt. for the Windsword stuff, more like immediate situations.  Broddi took part in heroquesting to steal the giant's cows, but other than that, most of his "adventures" would have been clan matters.

If they don't care for that type of adventure, then simply tell them, well, guess you need to step down from chieftain then.  But who knows?  They may have a blast with it.

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Clan chiefs do a lot of heroquests. They go on trade and diplomatic missions, and occasionally they get abducted or attacked. Plenty of scope for adventures!

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An Orlanthi clan chief has three roles. The chief is:

1. The chief priest of Orlanth and the other clan patrons for that clan. They perform sacrifices, oversee rituals, and keep the gods on the clan's side. Often the chieftain follows the lead of other priests and god-talkers, but at the end of the day, the chief is the apex of the clan temple hierarchy. 

2. The local village headman, who needs to resolve disputes about land, herds, and rivalries. 

3. A local warleader who needs to continually prove his or her right to lead through deeds, gifts, and action. This means leading the fight against trolls, fighting those broos that are plaguing the hilltop pastures, even leading attacks on others to get booty or vengeance.

Roles 1 and 2 are usually most important, but there are plenty of heroic chiefs who emphasise 3. 

The tribal king also has several roles:

1. The high priest of Orlanth Rex for the tribe. In Sartar, the tribal king is also bound to the Prince as the king of the Rex cult. The tribal king presides over sacrifices and rituals, does what the tribal gods demand, and so on. Usually full-time Storm Voices perform most of the actual work.

2. The war leader for the tribe. The tribal king has to constantly prove their right to lead through deeds, gifts, and action. That can include performing quests, fighting enemies, leading their bodyguards to fight tough foes, leading the tribal army in times of war, etc.

3. Judge of disputes between the communities of the tribe. Temples and clans dispute land, herds, rights, privileges, and much more. The tribal king is expected to resolve this, although some disputes get kicked up to the Prince.

4. The voice of the tribe with outsiders. The tribal king speaks on behalf of the tribe with regard to outsiders - other tribes, foreigners, even the Prince.

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Plenty of opportunity to lose lots of expendable extras in military actions as well, I reckon, which could also lead to interesting role-playing opportunities afterwards when dealing with bereft families' needs, or clan members requesting that you take revenge for deaths that took place under your leadership. Leadership is all about obligation and responsibility, which means its even easier to manoeuvre your PCs into difficult situations ethically or politically. 

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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

An Orlanthi clan chief has three roles. The chief is:

1. The chief priest of Orlanth and the other clan patrons for that clan. They perform sacrifices, oversee rituals, and keep the gods on the clan's side. Often the chieftain follows the lead of other priests and god-talkers, but at the end of the day, the chief is the apex of the clan temple hierarchy. 

2. The local village headman, who needs to resolve disputes about land, herds, and rivalries. 

3. A local warleader who needs to continually prove his or her right to lead through deeds, gifts, and action. This means leading the fight against trolls, fighting those broos that are plaguing the hilltop pastures, even leading attacks on others to get booty or vengeance.

Roles 1 and 2 are usually most important, but there are plenty of heroic chiefs who emphasise 3. 

The tribal king also has several roles:

1. The high priest of Orlanth Rex for the tribe. In Sartar, the tribal king is also bound to the Prince as the king of the Rex cult. The tribal king presides over sacrifices and rituals, does what the tribal gods demand, and so on. Usually full-time Storm Voices perform most of the actual work.

2. The war leader for the tribe. The tribal king has to constantly prove their right to lead through deeds, gifts, and action. That can include performing quests, fighting enemies, leading their bodyguards to fight tough foes, leading the tribal army in times of war, etc.

3. Judge of disputes between the communities of the tribe. Temples and clans dispute land, herds, rights, privileges, and much more. The tribal king is expected to resolve this, although some disputes get kicked up to the Prince.

4. The voice of the tribe with outsiders. The tribal king speaks on behalf of the tribe with regard to outsiders - other tribes, foreigners, even the Prince. 

So yeah, PLENTY of adventures for the chiefs/kings to do, if you tailor them for the responsibilities of the position.

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2 minutes ago, Grievous said:

So yeah, PLENTY of adventures for the chiefs/kings to do, if you tailor them for the responsibilities of the position.

Yes. Orlanth is the god of heroes after all. In Orlanthi culture, leaders need to prove their right to lead by example - and primarily in a martial manner. Chiefs, kings, etc. are under tremendous pressure to display their prowess, which is a great opportunity for adventure.

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My own "feel" for the setting suggests that the "Chief's adventures" may be very different from the arc of adventures of the party to date.  I think they could adventure with the chief, but suspect there are a bunch of campaign-threads & clues and pending stuff they would have to let lie fallow.

Maybe the player could create a new "champion" or "lieutenant" PC to take the place of the Chief PC when demands of the position prevent him going along ... ?

Edited by g33k
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Everyone, thanks very much for ideas and advice. Talked to my group as well about it, and they wanted the Adventurig Chief! They want to deal with the political ramifications of such. So...that’s where we’re headed.

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In short, a chief has obligations.  Lots of them.  They also have plenty of access to followers and resources and have a socially recognised power to delegate and reward people.  The main issue is how to resolve matters when the chief is knee deep in a muddy cave full of trolls and the clan has urgent business it needs resolved.  This is why the chief needs a steward to act in his place when he is away, taking the role of Elmal, and making the decision in the name of his absent chief.  Of course a chief who is too absent and doesn't make good decisions when he is around won't stay chief for long.

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@Jeff On that note, how much responsibility would a thane have then. Say, the thane of Apple Lane?  I assume they'd have some responsibilities but less than a chief.  And is there a particular structure for how thanes relate to clan chiefs and to tribal kings?  I'd guess thanes are the core military "class" for a clan but do they have responsibilities aside from that in Orlanthi culture?

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A chief should mostly be doing the Right sort of adventures, the sort of adventures that make it look like he is putting the clan first and into a good chief. Leading the clan against its enemies, leading HeroQuests, being an emissary, being a war leader, challenging rival chiefs, etc. Sure they aren’t charging off into dungeons filled with loot or investigating rumors in foreign lands (at least, not very often), but there is still plenty for them to do.

i doubt most would appoint a steward for that purpose - I think of a steward as mostly the person who makes the Manage Household rolls, not a replacement warrior (you should always have a few huscarls left to defend home). Mostly the clan ring can cover business when the chief is away on an extended trip, such as a war. 

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4 hours ago, Septimus Kendaro said:

@Jeff On that note, how much responsibility would a thane have then. Say, the thane of Apple Lane?  I assume they'd have some responsibilities but less than a chief.  And is there a particular structure for how thanes relate to clan chiefs and to tribal kings?  I'd guess thanes are the core military "class" for a clan but do they have responsibilities aside from that in Orlanthi culture?

A thane is a full-time warrior supported by others. Their responsibility is to defend the people, which carries along with it the right to exercise military leadership and authority on behalf of whatever clan or tribe the thane serves. Because they are important, wealthy, and respected for their prowess, the people they defend tend to defer to them.

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YGMV but I'd use the 'one adventure per season' strictly as a recommendation only. If the campaign demands it the players may well be nose-to-the-grindstone for seasons on end

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8 minutes ago, ChalkLine said:

YGMV but I'd use the 'one adventure per season' strictly as a recommendation only. If the campaign demands it the players may well be nose-to-the-grindstone for seasons on end

That is pretty much exactly what the rules state on page 137: 

Generally, one adventure occurs per season. The “one adventure per season” suggestion emphasizes the fact that adventures are extraordinary affairs, and that the adventurers have lives to lead. Much of an adventurer’s time is not their own. Farmers must work the fields, warriors must guard their lords, and even priests must spend most of their time worshiping the gods and managing their temple. 

The default assumption is one "extraordinary affair" (whatever that means) should happen in a season, and that otherwise the adventurer is doing the stuff they need to be doing as part of their community. That "adventure" might take place over several days or it might be spread out over the whole season. The goal is to not encourage daily tracking of player activities as RQ3 did and to let game time pass in a campaign, so that events can take place and the campaign can unfurl.

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On 2/22/2019 at 2:53 PM, Jeff said:

That is pretty much exactly what the rules state on page 137: 

Generally, one adventure occurs per season. The “one adventure per season” suggestion emphasizes the fact that adventures are extraordinary affairs, and that the adventurers have lives to lead. Much of an adventurer’s time is not their own. Farmers must work the fields, warriors must guard their lords, and even priests must spend most of their time worshiping the gods and managing their temple. 

The default assumption is one "extraordinary affair" (whatever that means) should happen in a season, and that otherwise the adventurer is doing the stuff they need to be doing as part of their community. That "adventure" might take place over several days or it might be spread out over the whole season. The goal is to not encourage daily tracking of player activities as RQ3 did and to let game time pass in a campaign, so that events can take place and the campaign can unfurl.

Which I totally agree with. Otherwise, players WILL micromanage every second of every day, and the campaign will crawl towards nothing. But if we've got a fixed campaign moving forward calendar, that works perfectly.

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This is not my experience.
Since '81 I've had players 'living in the world' using calendars* and I have had nothing but vital, gripping games. The Riskland Campaign was one of these where players lived in the world, doing farming tasks as well as adventuring tasks.

(*RuneQuest3 sorcery for a start needed a strict calendar to work as designed)

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3 hours ago, ChalkLine said:

This is not my experience.
Since '81 I've had players 'living in the world' using calendars* and I have had nothing but vital, gripping games. The Riskland Campaign was one of these where players lived in the world, doing farming tasks as well as adventuring tasks.

(*RuneQuest3 sorcery for a start needed a strict calendar to work as designed)

What I mean is, at least, if I don’t run things in a way that there are “large bits of time passing that include activities that must be done” then I’ve found players will micromanage every second, ludicrously having, say, no leisure time or time wasted or anything. Having a one adventure per season implied structure solves that neatly.

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6 hours ago, ChalkLine said:

(*RuneQuest3 sorcery for a start needed a strict calendar to work as designed)

As does RQG sorcery. A calendar is also important to track Rune Point potential in RQG and some Rune Point shenaningans.

But not breaking training and working time down below the week level does help give the atmosphere of time passing, I feel.

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8 minutes ago, womble said:

As does RQG sorcery. A calendar is also important to track Rune Point potential in RQG and some Rune Point shenaningans.

This is something that my group is struggling with a little, working out when the next holy days are that they can use. Vishi Dunn is particularly a problem for this. I haven't decided yet if he can do his own holy day ceremonies, but the problem hasn't arisen yet as we're only just at the start of the game.

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3 hours ago, StanTheMan said:

What I mean is, at least, if I don’t run things in a way that there are “large bits of time passing that include activities that must be done” then I’ve found players will micromanage every second, ludicrously having, say, no leisure time or time wasted or anything. Having a one adventure per season implied structure solves that neatly.

It might depend on the group but I've had the same experience. Unfortunately, though also somewhat amusingly, my players revolted when I tried running a Pendragon-style campaign. They really wanted their micromanagement. I didn't force the issue, and, in their defense, skipping substantial portions of time does lead to a somewhat different type of story. (E.g., with micromanaged time your character will never age during play and you can hang on to the same highly developed character more or less forever.)

Edited by The God Learner

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7 hours ago, The God Learner said:

It might depend on the group but I've had the same experience. Unfortunately, though also somewhat amusingly, my players revolted when I tried running a Pendragon-style campaign. They really wanted their micromanagement. I didn't force the issue, and, in their defense, skipping substantial portions of time does lead to a somewhat different type of story. (E.g., with micromanaged time your character will never age during play and you can hang on to the same highly developed character more or less forever.)

I don't think it's practical to track every moment. As you say, part of the trick of GMing is managing that slide of time scales without breaking immersion

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Everyone in the game has their own hero cycle.  From the lowliest stickpicker to the the most exalted chieftain.  In fact it can help tremendously to get a stratification of social layers involved in an adventure. That way there are different intrinsic viewpoints on the "rightness" of various outcomes.  It's too easy on the players to have them all just be Thanes with limited, detached duty to the clan. 

Traditional D&D style "murder hobo's" rob the campaign of much of its dynamic tension, plot hooks, and frankly mainly just lead to players gaming only for the Monty Haul type moments.  Anchoring the players to the social community is the best way to create tangled plot lines for them to solve, make the world seem realistic, and take a step beyond seeing how many Dark Trolls the players can kill with a single swing.  (Although that has it's moment -- just not every time!)

In a recent adventure the party was forced by their tribal ring (who were motivated by Divination) to take along a lowly stickpicker on a dangerous journey to Larnste's footprint.  The player was handed a character with no armor, no weapons other than throw rock, no magic, and no social status.  Most of the time he tagged along trying to find a way to be useful with his decent stealth and outdoorsy skills, but when they got to the Kitori tribe, the players were gifted a bag of anti-chaos rocks.  No one else had throw rock, so he wound up being the man of the hour when it came time to confront the scorpion men in the footprint.  Later that adventure he got roped into the Hill of Gold heroquest, and wound up (with some help from a friendly and annoyed to be there shaman) defeating his Yelmalian opponent, and stealing his Hoplite fighting skills.   None of that had to happen that way (it was not GM fiat), but it was a possible outcome depending on the players. 

Later sessions saw him trying to live up to his newly found acceptance and social status, as well as live up to his wife's expectation as some kind of Orlanthi blessed one.  This wound up getting him in more trouble than he ever had as a stickpicker.   "More money, more problems".  The chieftain player is at near the top of the totem pole for the Orlanthi, which means that he's really in a pickle!  He probably is looking for any chance to get away and adventure to solve the various problems hammering at him from his clan (and the other local clans, and the tribe, and the outsiders, and his relatives, etc.)  Doing so is pretty Orlanthic, so why not?

 


Dissolv

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8 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

This is something that my group is struggling with a little, working out when the next holy days are that they can use. Vishi Dunn is particularly a problem for this. I haven't decided yet if he can do his own holy day ceremonies, but the problem hasn't arisen yet as we're only just at the start of the game.

I think you just have to carefully tease out which Associated Cults have Holy Days coming up for each of the Cults your PCs are members of. Vishi Dunn is a bit of an issue because he's "a fish out of water" and Daka Fal doesn't have many Associated Cults to share worship with, especially in Sartar; Yinkin and Odayala don't get weekly holy days. You could change this, probably, by introducing some Orlanthi spirit-talkers/Ancestor Worshippers or a subcult of some sort in that vein [I'm racking my brain for the name of the folk that do this... it's currently filed under unavailable; this will probably change as soon as I hit 'submit reply']; it'd at least introduce a few more Seasonal holy days Vishi could lig offof.

One thing that isn't clear to me about Worship is whether a Priest is necessary to hold a Worship ceremony at all. While (almost every) Initiate can cast Sanctify, there are non-worship uses for that spell, so it doesn't necessarily mean they can do Worshipping without a Priest, RAW.

IMG, Initiates can undertake Worship without a Priest to lead them. They need to have an RP left to cast the Sanctify, or to be able to use an established holy place, like a wayside shrine (with or without keeper) or the Temple to All Gods in Apple Lane. I also apply some risk of error and/or failure if the Initiate undertakes too-deep a Ritual: things went badly wrong when an Ernalda Initiate tried to undertake the High Holy Day celebrations in 1625 while on the road... But "weekly prayers" just need the one point of Sanctify to be possible and mostly safe.

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8 hours ago, The God Learner said:
11 hours ago, StanTheMan said:

What I mean is, at least, if I don’t run things in a way that there are “large bits of time passing that include activities that must be done” then I’ve found players will micromanage every second, ludicrously having, say, no leisure time or time wasted or anything. Having a one adventure per season implied structure solves that neatly.

It might depend on the group but I've had the same experience. Unfortunately, though also somewhat amusingly, my players revolted when I tried running a Pendragon-style campaign. They really wanted their micromanagement. I didn't force the issue, and, in their defense, skipping substantial portions of time does lead to a somewhat different type of story. (E.g., with micromanaged time your character will never age during play and you can hang on to the same highly developed character more or less forever.)

My first thought was dislike when I discovered the limitations of the RQ G between adventures chapter.  Either; a POW roll a season*, an important skill roll (any normal skill?) a season or a point of characteristics every two seasons (no roll?) in lieu of all other extracurricular activities in addition to 4 points of occupation skills a season and an adventure if one is wished and available. (Do I have this right, this is all from memory?). At least 5 skill rolls a season or 4 skill rolls and a point of characteristics of half a point of POW* all obligations met and an adventure, hmmm. I have mentioned elsewhere that if one wishes to be a student simply take the occupational 4 skill rolls and make them scholarly skill rolls instead.

That's when I thought, holy crap that's a lot of experience in a year, and really easy to work out as well. Where's the downside. If players want more and can explain it, give it to them (a post I once read by MOB?) talks of being generous to the players and really how much extra could it be? Or better, create a challenge for the players to overcome or invoke a logical penalty according to areas that they have taxed and overworked to their next adventures skills/passions that create friction and promote MGF. Negotiate with the players (remember them :) for less if this happens to be too much for everyone's taste. Perhaps RQ 3 training and practice rules could be used here.
In conclusion perhaps (most certainly imho) family and other obligations will suffer (weekly Trollball... gone.) from all of the above except occupation, and we know how much a 40 work week can muddle up even these. Play these problems if simple and part of a story line or accept that the rules have weaknesses but if could be a lot harder. I loved RQ 3, I loved the grittiness but i have a feeling I am in a small minority and as I have gotten older I have discover simplicity, so thanks for taking away a shovel full of work Chaosium. I didn't need the extra labour after all.

* I assume that this is in lieu of all other activities but occupation and note that I consider cult obligations to be under the heading of occupation obligations. Adventures

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