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Marty Jopson

Help me sell RQG to my players

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My regular gaming group recently finished our fourth One Ring campaign and I have two choices - more Tolkien goodness (Laughter of Dragons) or RuneQuest.

I need some help convincing the players to make the right decision ūüėĀ

The reason we started playing One Ring was simple. Everyone knew the setting and this felt they could engage with it without lots of homework. The rule system was unknown to us at first but that was not an issue, they are not afraid of crunch. Glorantha is a tricky proposition. Several of the players like to get their teeth into the setting material and I don't know what to give them to read in advance. Should I even give them anything up front? Due to the largesse of Chaosium I found myself with two copies of the main rulebook - I passed a copy along to the most geeky player and this is what came back:

"At the moment, I‚Äôm trying to get into the world of Glorantha along with how the system works ‚Äď it‚Äôs kind of overwhelming! The system seems very crunchy and an awful lot to remember, let alone trying to keep in character"

My inclination is to get the players to not read up any rule system stuff - we have played a lot of Call of Cthulhu, so it is not that unfamiliar after all. What is the best source of background fluff for the players to convince them? The Glorantha chapter in the rulebook? First chunk of The Glorantha Sourcebook? Both of which are very dry. Is there any fiction to throw at them? What is in King of Sartar? The old Griselda tales are all set in Prax, is there any point in digging them out - and how do they read 30 years after the fact? Is there any good fiction set in Dragon Pass?

I'm working on a simplified character sheet on A5 (so it fits YSDC Eternal Journals) but need something fluffy.

Thanks in advance...

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I would say RQG is enough to introduce them. Your players might not have the same needs when in comes to jumping into the setting but from a background perspective they could browse through the chapters of Glorantha (for a 20,000 feet few if they are interested), Homelands (for a more immediate understanding of their milieu) and Rune Cults (so they get a glimpse of hoe gods influence their lifes and how mortals organize themselves). The latter is something that is distinct in Glorantha so understanding that, along with the Runes in the Glorantha chapters, can be important.

From an individual perspective, just going through character creation helps tremendously getting in the setting as it brings all these aspects at an individual level. Finally, I would let them read the Sacred Time section in the Between Adventures chapter. It is a short section that demonstrates that characters fit into a community through their gods and their family as well as their own economical prosperity.

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Dread is spot on. Community is a major facet of RQG. Why not just run a mini campaign (lower on the commitment scale) using the GM pack and Broken Tower, you could add the Cult of Chaos scenarios for extra flavour. I restrict the group to Orlanthi, even the same clan. This will make it easier to control the information flow.

 

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Best bet is to do a session with pre-gens and run them through the Broken Tower - this throws them straight into a small part of the world, whilst giving them clear objectives - get the cattle back and bring the murderers to justice. Don't give them any more background than you need to run the scenario, just enough for them to appreciate the clan rivalry and the importance of the herd to the community. The scenario provides lots of opportunities to gradually introduce the rules (skill checks, experience, combat, magic) and aspects of the world (clans, shamanism, spirit world, Dragon Pass, cults) organically.

If they enjoy themselves, THEN do a session zero and roll up characters with them, and you can then run them through the GM Screen scenarios. If your players aren't convinced then taking them through hours of chargen is not a good idea until they've tried the game (and Glorantha) on for size.

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If they're coming from a Middle Earth campaign they will probably need convincing upon the Bronze Age setting too, so send them links to a couple of videos:

Hector v Achilles: Troy

Children of the Hydra: Jason & the Argonauts

Oldies but goldies!

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10 hours ago, Marty Jopson said:

What is the best source of background fluff for the players to convince them? The Glorantha chapter in the rulebook? First chunk of The Glorantha Sourcebook? Both of which are very dry. Is there any fiction to throw at them? What is in King of Sartar? The old Griselda tales are all set in Prax, is there any point in digging them out - and how do they read 30 years after the fact? Is there any good fiction set in Dragon Pass?

As others have noted, your best bet is trying to get into the game itself. For actual things to read, I suppose I'd try starting with the Rune Cults chapter, as it blends game stuff and fluff stuff somewhat well.

As you note, the Sourcebook is somewhat dry. This is my take on most Gloranthan fiction as well. I've not read Griselda, but to my knowledge it's the only text which can really be considered fiction in the common sense. King of Sartar is... interesting? But it'll really depend on your player's taste. If they enjoy or would enjoy something like Herodotus or Thucydides, they might find it interesting. Ultimately I don't think KoS is very good, and I find that most Glorantha material has a high barrier to entry from the "what's the fluff" perspective because it's usually presented from a gnomic, intentionally-contradictory stance.

While there are valid reasons for this, I think it's a serious weakness of the setting. There's nothing like Lord of the Rings, or Dragonlance, or the Drizzt books, or Warhammer 40k's Black Library, or even semi-historical narratives like I, the Sun for your player to whet their teeth on. So to answer your last question--no, I don't think there's any good fiction set in Dragon Pass.

Thus, immersion's probably your best bet. However, if you want alternatives your players could explore solo, I would recommend the video game King of Dragon Pass, set around 1300ST if I remember right, around the founding of Sartar. It's usually cheap (I picked it up a couple months ago for like six bucks on Steam) and does a good job building the setting and immersion through its gameplay. Some of the reading which comes across dryly (like some myths) are improved by giving the reader stakes in the reading. For example, remembering a detail so that you'll be able to play out a heroquest correctly.

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Another good story for getting an impression, what Glorantha is, is the web comic Prince of Sartar. Although it is not yet complete, it contains already six great chapters, which give a good introduction, how Glorantha and how a game in Glorantha could work ...

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19 minutes ago, Oracle said:

Another good story for getting an impression, what Glorantha is, is the web comic Prince of Sartar. Although it is not yet complete, it contains already six great chapters, which give a good introduction, how Glorantha and how a game in Glorantha could work ...

Not enough Ducks.

Or Trolls...

And I don't recall even a single Dwarf....

 

Don't mind me - I think it's a great comic, and am avidly awaiting the return. Lots of HeroQuest-y stuff as well as a good story (but, you'll need to read the comments to understand a lot of what you're looking at.. lots of grognards ūüėõ )

However, it's based purely around the Dragon Pass area (plus some Prax), and involves only the people's from that area. So, it's less "Glorantha since the Gods Time", and more "Dragon Pass over the last 20 years". Granted, that was the bread and butter Glorantha for a while (and, once again, is). I don't even recall any sorcery being used.

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Cool. Thanks for all your help. I think I'm worrying too much. I was planning on starting out with Broken Tower as that seems to have a good mix of community / clan intrigue and weird Gloranthan fights and cows. We just ran the Rohan campaign for One Ring and everyone is thoroughly sick of horses. Cows will make a nice change. 

@Sumath I considered a one shot first as you suggested but we meet so infrequently that people decided they wouldn't rather get into a game properly. I'm inclined to agree that character creation looks like it will generate an appreciation of the setting.  I will give King of Dragon Pass a try and can then lure my teenage kids (two of the players) with that. I can just see it now "Dad says we have to play this game on our iPads".

another question - possibly a separate thread - how would you link Broken Tower with all the fun and games up at Apple Lane. I'll probably use the second cattle herding GM pack scenario after Broken Tower as that seems a better fit. But is it worth shifting the Tower north and swapping out the tribes somehow for Malini ones? 

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12 hours ago, Marty Jopson said:

I need some help convincing the players to make the right decision ūüėĀ

 

Why the great people here that play the game should be more than enough to sway your crew, oh and it will make you sexy and incredibly smart as well.
your mileage may vary...

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4 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Why the great people here that play the game should be more than enough to sway your crew, oh and it will make you sexy and incredibly smart as well.
your mileage may vary...

(I cast Charisma :D )

(Oh, and, and a quick Lie too...)

Yeah, RQG is the best game ever!!!

 

(oh, damn.... doesn't quite work second hand...)

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18 minutes ago, Marty Jopson said:

Cool. Thanks for all your help. I think I'm worrying too much. I was planning on starting out with Broken Tower as that seems to have a good mix of community / clan intrigue and weird Gloranthan fights and cows. We just ran the Rohan campaign for One Ring and everyone is thoroughly sick of horses. Cows will make a nice change. 

@Sumath I considered a one shot first as you suggested but we meet so infrequently that people decided they wouldn't rather get into a game properly. I'm inclined to agree that character creation looks like it will generate an appreciation of the setting.  I will give King of Dragon Pass a try and can then lure my teenage kids (two of the players) with that. I can just see it now "Dad says we have to play this game on our iPads".

another question - possibly a separate thread - how would you link Broken Tower with all the fun and games up at Apple Lane. I'll probably use the second cattle herding GM pack scenario after Broken Tower as that seems a better fit. But is it worth shifting the Tower north and swapping out the tribes somehow for Malini ones? 

Broken Tower works just fine with the GM Adventures material, at least I've thrown them in together. If the characters are from around Clearwine, they likely will have conflict with the Grey Dogs, but can try to act as "fair brokers" with the Orleving. If they are from around Apple Lane, the reverse. 

One great moment in a recent run of Cattle Raid - having the player who only knew DD5e realise that his character might get killed when he was in the middle of a cattle stampede. He was both horrified and filled with excitement - "I might be killed by a cow! This is so awesome!"

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24 minutes ago, Marty Jopson said:

We just ran the Rohan campaign for One Ring and everyone is thoroughly sick of horses. Cows will make a nice change. 

 

3 minutes ago, Jeff said:

He was both horrified and filled with excitement - "I might be killed by a cow! This is so awesome!"

One of my favorite lines from KoDP is "Their cow magic doesn't hold a candle to our cow magic!" It's become a bit of a meme in our group. The game does a really good job emphasizing how important cows and other Bronze Age stuff is in Glorantha, in conjunction with putting the weirdness (like ducks!) front and center.

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14 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Broken Tower works just fine with the GM Adventures material

As I suspected. I’m over thinking it and making work for myself. 

Any advice on adding a bigger story / campaign arc to the scenarios? I know we are at the start of Hero Wars and there are many ways to go, but it would be fun to foreshadow a smidgeon. 

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And personally I find cows distinctly problematic . Always chewing. Chewing chewing and more chewing. And then there is the standing and the looking and the evil glint of the eye as they plot and scheme. If a game system works in such a way as to have the possibility of character death by cow - well I call that a fine system that shows a true reflection of the cow. 

Sheep are much better. Thick as two short planks and cuddly. 

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6 minutes ago, Marty Jopson said:

And personally I find cows distinctly problematic . Always chewing. Chewing chewing and more chewing. And then there is the standing and the looking and the evil glint of the eye as they plot and scheme. If a game system works in such a way as to have the possibility of character death by cow - well I call that a fine system that shows a true reflection of the cow. 

Sheep are much better. Thick as two short planks and cuddly. 

(Casts Awaken Herd Beast :D )

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17 minutes ago, Marty Jopson said:

And personally I find cows distinctly problematic . Always chewing. Chewing chewing and more chewing. And then there is the standing and the looking and the evil glint of the eye as they plot and scheme. If a game system works in such a way as to have the possibility of character death by cow - well I call that a fine system that shows a true reflection of the cow. 

 

He's on to us Elsie,

Don't worry Ferdinand, I will cast a lie spell after you have cast charisma. No one will believe him over us. 

Quick back on all fours a human is coming. 

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4 minutes ago, Marty Jopson said:

Be afraid - be very afraid. The cows have a bovine agenda that does not include you...

While we're herding them, it's a moo-t point.

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19 minutes ago, Marty Jopson said:

If a game system works in such a way as to have the possibility of character death by cow - well I call that a fine system that shows a true reflection of the cow. 

Sheep are much better. Thick as two short planks and cuddly. 

Careful what you wish for--in my game, I had a player panic some sheep and stampede them into their enemies.

Fear the grass-chewers! Gnash thy teeth and despair!

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I think letting them make their character the long way (Aka regional/cultural descriptions, grand parent/parent history, rune descriptions/choices, cults, spell choices, etc.) gives them a decent feel of the World (or Dragon Pass at least).

A player of ours experienced a fair bit of Glorantha from playing RQ3 for a few years, but said he understood the current setting much better now that he actually went through character creation by himself (he never read anything about Glorantha or RuneQuest before, just learned through adventures).

I feel like a good first adventure should have disgusting, rapey, disease-riddled broos though. It's a staple of RQ in my eyes. 

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37 minutes ago, gochie said:

I feel like a good first adventure should have disgusting, rapey, disease-riddled broos though. It's a staple of RQ in my eyes. 

Can't argue with that, come up with the perfect odd/gross/funny or over-the-top Chuck Jones cartoon style chaos feature and have at them. They'll be back for more. You know, in my 11 years of gaming and GMing, I have only used broo once and do not recall having encountered them Seems a shame, but there is so much out there that I did not realize that until now.

 As long as there are healers near at hand, or shamans,  ordinary or weaker broo should not be a problem for newcomers to RQ and are or can be as oddly Gloranthan as anything I can think of for starting characters. Don't do random (the possibilities are too gruesome, literally, to contemplate) but tailor the broo to your player's taste in gaming.

Assuming a greater challenge is needed for your players scaling up is easy Assuming the broo have not changed since RQ 2 and 3 the feral broo was a lone figure or a small group (perhaps litter mates) that had little magic if any and poor access to weapons and armour. But they could be so much more.  Let them be in a cult (spells). Let them have real armour or weapons . Have then fight with tactics and sagacity.  Make them god talkers... ohh, increase their diseases or make them horrific. Give them allies or hell even a 2nd age kingdom near the Rockwoods for sh## and giggles. 

Anyone care to go out for a broo?

Edited by Bill the barbarian
clearing up errorssssss

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I'd consider the old "Cults of Prax" with the sidebar fiction "Travels of Biturian Varosh".

The Cults of Prax book is distinctly old-school, looking almost like a wargame rulebook in organization.  The sidebars are wonderful!  And even the oldschool text has valuable perspectives that enlighten both the crunch & the fiction.

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13 hours ago, Marty Jopson said:

Be afraid - be very afraid. The cows have a bovine agenda that does not include you...

 

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