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Nevun

Broken Tower questions

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Heyas.

I'm hoping to run the Broken Tower scenario soon and am currently trying to get to grips with the scenario. I have a few questions.

  • Where is the player's village? They have apparently been "on the road for a couple of days, riding in pursuit" but the cattle raid occurred fairly close to Clearwine Fort. I Can see the player's tribe and clan but not their village. I mean, I could use the reasoning "You have just returned from escorting the cattle to Sun Dome temple. You aren't needed for the return trip so you've come home again. After a couple of days riding you near home. Now this..." I'd still like to know where they live.
  • Carthalo. He needs to summon the ghost of the slain Greydog women. What skill does he use? I can't see anything obvious listed. He also has 6 points of Daka Fal rune pool but no spells. Any suggestions? He also has Spirit Lore as a skill but no percentage.
  • Loot from the Broken Tower. Players can "keep any treasures they found in the ruins" but I can't see any listed, nor can I see when they might find some. Presumably the loot table has some use here but I'm not sure when or how often they should roll. Ay ideas?
  • The players will need to "Herd" the cattle at some point. I can't see that any have any reasonable amount of herd ability. About 25% at the most. Is that an oversight? There's nothing in the erata that I can see. Give someone a 'bump' in skill maybe?

Any ideas?

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32 minutes ago, Nevun said:
  • Where is the player's village? They have apparently been "on the road for a couple of days, riding in pursuit" but the cattle raid occurred fairly close to Clearwine Fort. I Can see the player's tribe and clan but not their village. I mean, I could use the reasoning "You have just returned from escorting the cattle to Sun Dome temple. You aren't needed for the return trip so you've come home again. After a couple of days riding you near home. Now this..." I'd still like to know where they live.

I think where they live is left deliberately vague, but I agree that "a couple of days" is a lot.

32 minutes ago, Nevun said:
  • Carthalo. He needs to summon the ghost of the slain Greydog women. What skill does he use? I can't see anything obvious listed. He also has 6 points of Daka Fal rune pool but no spells. Any suggestions? He also has Spirit Lore as a skill but no percentage.

When I ran it, I decided that the ghost is there, in the Middle World, bound by the trauma of kinslaying, but not visible unless you use Second Sight which Carthalo has pernanently as a shaman. As a fresh ghost maybe she hasn't the knack of becoming visible yet. She probably doesn't even know that she is dead until Carthalo (or Vishi Dunn) tells her what has happened. I ruled this in order to give Vishi Dunn an opportunity to do something, and Carthalo was not there.

32 minutes ago, Nevun said:
  • The players will need to "Herd" the cattle at some point. I can't see that any have any reasonable amount of herd ability. About 25% at the most. Is that an oversight? There's nothing in the erata that I can see. Give someone a 'bump' in skill maybe?

I can't see any player choosing Herd as a starting skill, none of the pregens did! I think the bonus percentage for Sartarites should be a lot higher. Vishi Dunn (not in the Quickstart) has 50, but the highest any of the other pregens has is 25%. Yes, this is a real problem!

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35 minutes ago, Nevun said:

Where is the player's village? They have apparently been "on the road for a couple of days, riding in pursuit" but the cattle raid occurred fairly close to Clearwine Fort. I Can see the player's tribe and clan but not their village. I mean, I could use the reasoning "You have just returned from escorting the cattle to Sun Dome temple. You aren't needed for the return trip so you've come home again. After a couple of days riding you near home. Now this..." I'd still like to know where they live

It's Clearwine Village just outside the fort on the map.

Page 28 "Clearwine Fort: The main settlement of the Colymar tribe and the village of the Ernaldoring clan".

38 minutes ago, Nevun said:

Carthalo. He needs to summon the ghost of the slain Greydog women. What skill does he use? I can't see anything obvious listed. He also has 6 points of Daka Fal rune pool but no spells. Any suggestions? He also has Spirit Lore as a skill but no percentage.

He likely casts Axis Mundi - This summoning ritual creates a holy sanctuary 10 meters in radius, use his Man Rune % to resolve the ritual.

57 minutes ago, Nevun said:

Loot from the Broken Tower. Players can "keep any treasures they found in the ruins" but I can't see any listed, nor can I see when they might find some. Presumably the loot table has some use here but I'm not sure when or how often they should roll. Ay ideas?

Exploring the Ruins page 34 has guidelines for loot.

58 minutes ago, Nevun said:

The players will need to "Herd" the cattle at some point. I can't see that any have any reasonable amount of herd ability. About 25% at the most. Is that an oversight? There's nothing in the erata that I can see. Give someone a 'bump' in skill maybe?

No one is very good at this, it just takes longer. Although Vishi Dunn has 50% if you use him.

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

I think where they live is left deliberately vague, but I agree that "a couple of days" is a lot.

Depends on whether you can cut through the outskirts of other clans area without encounters, or whether you are forced to endure hospitality everywhere on your route.

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12 hours ago, Nevun said:

The players will need to "Herd" the cattle at some point. I can't see that any have any reasonable amount of herd ability. About 25% at the most. Is that an oversight? There's nothing in the erata that I can see. Give someone a 'bump' in skill maybe?

One of the few "complaints" I had with the scenario/pre-gens was that someone should have had a decent Herd skill.  My group played as written and there were definitely issues trying to get a decent success at this - and it is needed at several points. 

Remember Augments! No guarantee, but they can bump you to 45-55% typically.  My players variously used Air (Orlanth's leadership), Movement, and Harmony. Beast would be another.  Despite one of the players getting a critical success on an augment (+50%), they still failed that roll. And another managed to Fumble, losing the bull that they had just rescued from the rock lizards. But eventually one got a critical on an augmented Herd roll to help get the cattle out of the Broken Tower (though failed the next Herd roll, losing track of some of them).

Another approach that could work fairly readily is to bring along either an NPC herder (could even just be a boy/girl who is only good at Herd) or shadowcat (obeys commands to Herd the cattle, but doesn't like to fight).  Put the skill at 50-60% and let one of the PC's roll for that NPC.

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12 hours ago, Nevun said:

They have apparently been "on the road for a couple of days, riding in pursuit" but the cattle raid occurred fairly close to Clearwine Fort. I Can see the player's tribe and clan but not their village. I mean, I could use the reasoning "You have just returned from escorting the cattle to Sun Dome temple. You aren't needed for the return trip so you've come home again. After a couple of days riding you near home. Now this..." I'd still like to know where they live.

I just used an arbitrary stead right outside Clearwine Fort.  And the distances don't quite fit, so I just adjusted down to what did make sense (which is about a day over very rough terrain).

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Thank you, @Nevun for starting this thread. I just finished reading the RQG quick start book and am preparing to run it for a group.

Thank you all for the replies a recommendations. I may end up allowing some or all of the players to create characters of their own and run them through the Broken Tower. The pre-generated characters can be available for those that don't want to spend time in character creation.

Two questions:

1. Has anyone run The Broken Tower without the pre-gens? How did it go? Are there any specific skills or other characteristics that are essential for PCs?

2. If one or two players don't want to create characters, which pre-gens are the best for this adventure. Perhaps a pre-gens list in order of importance...

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12 minutes ago, borbetomagnus said:

1. Has anyone run The Broken Tower without the pre-gens? How did it go? Are there any specific skills or other characteristics that are essential for PCs?

The answer to your last question is, "Yes, Herd! And none of the pre-gens have anything in that!"

I ran it with the pre-gens, but as an experienced RuneQuest GM, the only thing necessary is one or more characters who is involved with the clan. Even that isn't strictly necessary, the adventurers could be murder-hobos traditional footloose adventurers who happen across the trail of the raiders, track them to the tower, and then take the cattle and dead bad guys to the Ernaldoring (or Greydog!) clan for a reward.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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Thanks, @PhilHibbs for the suggestion. I'll make sure that at least one non-pre-gen character is a member of the clan and that a few of them have some proficiency in the Herd skill.

Plan to use the Broken Tower to get them hooked on RQG and then start on a campaign in the Clearwine Fort / Apple Lane tribal area. A couple players are already sold on RQG and anxious to start playing. I just want to have a group of 5-7 players rather than 3.

Edited by borbetomagnus
Added sentence about "couple players are already sold..."

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1 minute ago, borbetomagnus said:

Thanks, @PhilHibbs for the suggestion. I'll make sure that at least one non-pre-gen character is a member of the clan and that a few of them have some proficiency in the Herd skill.

Plan to use the Broken Tower to get them hooked on RQG and then start on a campaign in the Clearwine Fort / Apple Lane tribal area.

Personally I would solve the Herd quandry by making the Sartarite bonus for Herd +20 or +25 instead of +10.

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31 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Personally I would solve the Herd quandry by making the Sartarite bonus for Herd +20 or +25 instead of +10.

Sounds good! I'll handle it that way too.

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58 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Personally I would solve the Herd quandry by making the Sartarite bonus for Herd +20 or +25 instead of +10.

Personally I'd not make them roll. As long as they have the skill above basic, I'd use the automatic success rule - as herding cows in this situation doesn't fulfil the yes component of the rules (page 141) IMHO. 

Quote

Does the chance of failure heighten tension and make for an exciting possibility? Will a failure add fun to the game? If the answer to either is “Yes,” then the gamemaster should have the player make an ability roll.

If none have herder as occupation, I'd just make them take longer. For me, this is clearly a story over procedure moment.

I've just run Cattle Raid from the GM Screen Pack. At the end I said "eventually you herd the cows back to the village". The players wanted to get to the next scene not play a cow herding game (unless your players are different 🙂) - no one needs Herd at 90% to become a Rune Level...

One of the difficulties a RuneQuest GM has is knowing when not to roll the dice to move the story on. Especially when everyone has a sheet in front of them covered in percentages and percentile dice in hand. 

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IMO -

At a 'Con event (where time is short)... Have everyone make a roll.  Best roll determines outcome.  No successes means they either go home with just a few cows, or allow a re-roll but a few cows are just GONE (predation / wandering away from herd / stolen by a lone bandit / they'll never know)

Any Fumble give the GM a chance to narrate a funny ooops.

---

If you have time (e.g. an at-home group) you might actually roll it out, forcing them to herd the cattle home and learn how BAD they really are at 25% skills... If you think the players would enjoy that or it'd be useful to learn in a "cattle" context instead of e.g. a "sneak past the Great Troll guards" context...

 

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5 hours ago, borbetomagnus said:

If one or two players don't want to create characters, which pre-gens are the best for this adventure. Perhaps a pre-gens list in order of importance...

Yanioth! She was critical in my run-through, particularly in dealing with Idrima and the sprul-pa and has very important healing magics.

Otherwise, my group ran Harmast, Sorola, and Vasana.  They worked fine.

Harmast and Vasana were the best fighters used, Sorola had a good mix of useful magic and some combat skills. 

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16 hours ago, David Scott said:

Personally I'd not make them roll. As long as they have the skill above basic, I'd use the automatic success rule - as herding cows in this situation doesn't fulfil the yes component of the rules (page 141) IMHO. 

If none have herder as occupation, I'd just make them take longer. For me, this is clearly a story over procedure moment.

I've just run Cattle Raid from the GM Screen Pack. At the end I said "eventually you herd the cows back to the village". The players wanted to get to the next scene not play a cow herding game (unless your players are different 🙂) - no one needs Herd at 90% to become a Rune Level...

One of the difficulties a RuneQuest GM has is knowing when not to roll the dice to move the story on. Especially when everyone has a sheet in front of them covered in percentages and percentile dice in hand. 

After considering the suggestions, I think that focusing on what is important to the story should be paramount for determining how to handle skill use situations. I like your recommendation @David Scott

12 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Yanioth! She was critical in my run-through, particularly in dealing with Idrima and the sprul-pa and has very important healing magics.

Otherwise, my group ran Harmast, Sorola, and Vasana.  They worked fine.

Harmast and Vasana were the best fighters used, Sorola had a good mix of useful magic and some combat skills. 

Thanks, @jajagappa I'll keep these pre-gens at the top of the list to encourage players that don't want to create their own characters.

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Expanding on one of my first questions:

"Carthalo. He needs to summon the ghost of the slain Greydog women. What skill does he use? I can't see anything obvious listed. He also has 6 points of Daka Fal rune pool but no spells. Any suggestions? He also has Spirit Lore as a skill but no percentage."

David Scott suggested Axis Muni. That sounds good. I'll probably go with that when I run it. Reading over the full Daka Fal writeup, I see he also provides Free Ghost (Man, Death). That's another possibility I guess.

"Exploring the Ruins page 34 has guidelines for loot."

I'd swear that I did a search on the PDF for the word "loot' and only got the table. No idea how I missed that section.

Re-reading the Broken Tower i see other things missing. Danakos has 4 rune point in Orlanth Adventurous but no rune spells. Another thing for the errata. Shield and Heal wound might be options. Though I see no reason to assume that he still has all 4 points left available.
Related to this. What rune does Shield use? The rune spell description says "Rune varies depending on cult". I don't see anything in the cult description though. 

The GM pack includes the pre-gen characters from the quickstart. It also adds Nathem. A hunter with a shadowcat. I might use him and add a herd skill to the alynx because driving game toward a hunter in wait, sounds exactly what they might be used for (among other things). That said, I won't let a lack of herding ability be a show stopper. Failure will still get the cattle back - just not as fast or cleanly as the players might like. But then they're warriors, thanes etc. Not common farmers.

Edit; I might add though that even warriors should probably have some herd skills if they ever want to distinguish themselves in cattle-raids.

 

Edited by Nevun

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34 minutes ago, Nevun said:

Carthalo. He needs to summon the ghost of the slain Greydog women. What skill does he use?

In my run-through, my players ignored Carthalo entirely and didn't even pursue him. (And thought he might be part of some bandit party.)  They buried the body under gathered stones, Yanioth said a few words in prayer to Ernalda, and they moved on without even encountering the ghost.

39 minutes ago, Nevun said:

What rune does Shield use?

Orlanth: use Air or Movement; Yelm: use Fire (i.e. use whichever rune specifically associated with the cult is felt most appropriate and have it manifest that way - Orlanth's shield is like a buffer of wind, Yelm's is radiant heat, etc.).

41 minutes ago, Nevun said:

That said, I won't let a lack of herding ability be a show stopper.

If it's interesting to apply it, do so. You can treat it somewhat like Ride: if nothing untoward is going on, it can be automatic; if something unusual, like rock lizards attacking or Idrima stomping around, then apply to try to keep them from bolting off.  Even where my PC's fumbled, the cattle didn't go that far off.

44 minutes ago, Nevun said:

even warriors should probably have some herd skills if they ever want to distinguish themselves in cattle-raids

It's definitely of use if you want to bring that cattle back!

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On ‎4‎/‎22‎/‎2019 at 8:25 PM, Nevun said:

 

The players will need to "Herd" the cattle at some point. I can't see that any have any reasonable amount of herd ability. About 25% at the most. Is that an oversight? There's nothing in the erata that I can see. Give someone a 'bump' in skill maybe?

Any ideas?

My Granda used to summon his cows by singing. YouTube is full of footage of people attracting cows with song or music. Yanioth has sing at 70%.

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On 4/25/2019 at 2:20 AM, Nevun said:

That said, I won't let a lack of herding ability be a show stopper.

Of course not, I believe it wasn't designed to be. I agree that failure should mean they have some problems (a cow stray away, a loud sound make them panic and they scatter threatening to trample the PCs, etc.). You could narrate it or play it (might be a lot of fun).

This being said the Herd skill can be augmented (Earth rune, Loyalty Clan), cows could be taken care of (first aid or simply speaking to them to calm them down); possibly doubling (or giving a sizable rise in) the chance of success.

But anyway, even if it fails it's not a disaster. Sure they'll bring the cattle home eventually.

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22 hours ago, Sid Vicarious said:

My Granda used to summon his cows by singing. YouTube is full of footage of people attracting cows with song or music. Yanioth has sing at 70%.

I believe that ranchers "train" (condition) their herds to come on specific signals and/or at specific times, by feeding them choice foodstuffs when they do so.

Granda probably had some oats, maybe even a fancy blend, that the cattle got after coming to his song (at least, they got it sometimes -- intermittent reinforcement is the longest-lasting).

I hadn't (previously) heard of the Singing Sartarites, but I may have just discovered a new "V" in my own "MGWV"...   8^]

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On 4/29/2019 at 4:49 AM, Sid Vicarious said:

My Granda used to summon his cows by singing. YouTube is full of footage of people attracting cows with song or music. Yanioth has sing at 70%.

There's a northern european tradition of cow, sheep and goat calling, called Kulning in Sweden (various other regional names as well). There's an excellent album here https://www.amazon.com/Lockrop-Vallåtar-Various-artists/dp/B0051D4F9I and another on youtube here (read the comments) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvtT3UyhibQ. When I lived in Holland, it was between two dairy farms. The normal cow summoning method was by wooden spoon on an old pan, with a child on a bike chasing up the slower ones, that usually got them running. On my friend's farm in Norway, they herd by getting the leader to move out front with another herder bring up the rear with a stick to prod those more interested in eating.

I'd certainly let you augment your herding with singing.

 

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On 4/24/2019 at 4:37 AM, borbetomagnus said:

Thank you, @Nevun for starting this thread. I just finished reading the RQG quick start book and am preparing to run it for a group.

Thank you all for the replies a recommendations. I may end up allowing some or all of the players to create characters of their own and run them through the Broken Tower. The pre-generated characters can be available for those that don't want to spend time in character creation.

Two questions:

1. Has anyone run The Broken Tower without the pre-gens? How did it go? Are there any specific skills or other characteristics that are essential for PCs?

2. If one or two players don't want to create characters, which pre-gens are the best for this adventure. Perhaps a pre-gens list in order of importance...

I ran with my home group. Odayla Hunter (a pain in the arse Master Tracker), Orlanth Noble, Yelmalio Hoplite, and Orlanthi Cavalryman. They did very well, all things considered. The Hoplite dispatched their enemy in 8SR, smashed his sword and impaled his face. Actually, the lizards gave them the most trouble, but this muscle heavy group dominated the combats.

A judicious Cult Lore role determined that attacking something in it's own temple was foolish, and they offered sacrifice instead... the corpse of a kinslayer, and kinslaying is chaos. This pleased Idrema enough to let them go with a promise of a sacrifice each season. The herded cattle poorly, but bargained well.

We worked the scenario into the basic stuff in the GM kit, we are revolving the GMing duties and my own PC, a Babeesta Gor worshipping Shaman's Apprentice was busy doing other things, but she is hoping to step up restore the temple properly.

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@BalazarLightson Thanks for sharing your experience with running The Broken Tower. I too plan to proceed to the scenarios in the GM kit once the group has completed The Broken Tower, and determine who liked RQG and is committed to playing in an ongoing campaign.

Edited by borbetomagnus
cleared up awkward grammar in second sentence.
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@borbetomagnus If you go with custom PC's some good hooks for getting the PC interested could be having cousins in the original herding party, either as deceased or survivors. Any apprentice shaman's might get special interest from the remote Mountain Man, Earth Worshipers have an obvious in with Idrema, and the idea of restoring an earth temple could have some lure. If they repatriate the dead Greydogs, they might get some small thanks or favors from the Humakti who dwell with the Lismelder, they take funerary rights very seriously.

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19 minutes ago, BalazarLightson said:

If they repatriate the dead Greydogs, they might get some small thanks or favors from the Humakti who dwell with the Lismelder, they take funerary rights very seriously.

I don't see that as being a specifically Humakti thing, I think funerary rites are just as important to Orlanthi as to Humakti.

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