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BlindPumpkin

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I was checking out the adventures contained in the GM Screen Pack, and I noticed that the NPCs there seemed unusually strong. Most NPCs were but common villagers, yet were all Initiates, with 2-3 runepoints or more, and had PC-adventurer level stats in most cases. Is this an early quirk, since these NPCs were probably rolled using the PC-creation tools, which are meant to create competent and above-average adventurers? WIll future supplements have more "realistic" NPC stats based on yet-to-be-released npc creation rules? Are Heortling villagers just really this damned strong?

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27 minutes ago, BlindPumpkin said:

Are Heortling villagers just really this damned strong?

The Lunars end up asking themselves the same question around 1622. By about 1625 it's pretty damn clear the answer is yes.

One thing worth noting is that if a scenario is set after 1622, the "average Heortling" you're meeting survived the Windstop, so they're probably tougher than usual and/or they've got a lot of community support.

I really do think the Lunars massively underestimated the percentage of initiates in the Sartarite population, and the percentage of "villagers" who are at least competent combatants, which is why they had such a hard time suppressing a numerically inferior opponent.

Edited by RHW
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"It were horrible, Lucius. They told us the 'cluding blues were just a bunch of farmers and shepherds. And we believed 'em. Until the lighting started. So much 'cluding lightning. It's all corflued now, you ask me. We never should've crossed the Line."  

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It's not like the Lunars hadn't encountered that high initiation rate earlier, when Hwarin Dalthippa suborned the Sylilan bear Orlanthi to establish Lunar rule over the Provinces. But then, those were fights between  pro-Lunar and anti-Lunar Orlanthi, and the level of organisation of those Orlanthi wasn't anything to write home about if the Talastari are the measure of that.

If you want something similar to the Roman distrust of the German cold and dark forests, the theme of the oppressive mountain peaks that obscures so much of their beloved sky and on occasion even the Moon, in combination with the absence of the Glowline, and the vast over-abundance of rain (compared to the Pelorian bowl, which gets most of its water from irrigation, even for "dry farming").

2 hours ago, RHW said:

One thing worth noting is that if a scenario is set after 1622, the "average Heortling" you're meeting survived the Windstop, so they're probably tougher than usual and/or they've got a lot of community support.

The community support bit will blow up in the Lunar faces when the Flame of Sartar is relit. With the kingdom's wyter fully functional again, the Sartarites might experience a cohesion tighter than the empire - at least while the Mask of the Emperor is ever more disfunctional.

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Thanks for all the replies. I guess it is true that the region has a much higher rate of initiates, especially after recent events, I just wasn't expecting every adult in a village to be one. One other thing that got me scratching my head was the fact that some NPC stat blocks listed "rune spells" while others "special rune spells". Is this just an overlooked lack of consistency, or does that mean that the NPCs with "special spells" get all the common rune spells of their cult, while the other NPCs have acess only to the ones listed under their "rune spells" entry?

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2 hours ago, BlindPumpkin said:

Thanks for all the replies. I guess it is true that the region has a much higher rate of initiates, especially after recent events, I just wasn't expecting every adult in a village to be one. One other thing that got me scratching my head was the fact that some NPC stat blocks listed "rune spells" while others "special rune spells". Is this just an overlooked lack of consistency, or does that mean that the NPCs with "special spells" get all the common rune spells of their cult, while the other NPCs have acess only to the ones listed under their "rune spells" entry?

When you sacrifice POW for Rune Points, you get accepted to *all* common Rune spells (that your cult has access to), and for each point you can also choose to have available 1 special Rune Spell that your cult (or associated cult) has. Those that are missing special Rune spells may be the error.

On your other topic, when the Romans invaded Britain, they got a huge shock when confronted not only by mala adult villagers attacking, but also female... And, often naked! The Romans took quite a while to overcome them...

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1 hour ago, Shiningbrow said:

When you sacrifice POW for Rune Points, you get accepted to *all* common Rune spells (that your cult has access to), and for each point you can also choose to have available 1 special Rune Spell that your cult (or associated cult) has. Those that are missing special Rune spells may be the error.

That's not necessarily true, since the rules are for adventurers. When you create an adventurer who has been a member of a cult all their adult life, and who can be assumed to have ambitions to advance to Rune Master, you are assumed to have access to all the common rune spells by the time you are 25. I'm not sure that that applies to all initiates, that everyone gets all the common spells right out of the gate.

Although, it does say "An adventurer gains access to all common Rune spells available to the cult at initiation". And it repeats it in the Initiation section of the Rune Cults chapter. So I'm probably wrong.

I think this is just a simplification, though. Do you really want to have to write down all the common spells that you have access to? And if you join a second cult, you will have separate access to the common spells through the new cult. You might know Extension, Heal Wound, Divination, and Multispell through Issaries, and when you join Orlanth you might learn Extension first, then Spirit Block, maybe Heal Wound again in case you run out of Issaries Rune Points, etc. It would be a nightmare of bookkeeping. So just because it's a RuneQuest rule for adventurers, doesn't mean it's a universal rule across the world. Game systems are necessarily an abstraction, a simplification, a focus on what is important in telling the story.

Gloranthan reality didn't change when Jeff woke up one morning and decided "screw it, lets just give them all the common spells, that's so much easier and it encourages people to find uses for the more obscure spells".

Edited by PhilHibbs

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59 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Gloranthan reality didn't change when Jeff woke up one morning and decided "screw it, lets just give them all the common spells, that's so much easier and it encourages people to find uses for the more obscure spells".

No, I figured they thought that the rules were too restrictive to players (especially the one-use rule), and decided to change it (just as there's been a significant, and game-world changing, alteration to sorcery).

Sure, there could be a significant difference between PCs and NPCs... But a PC is really just a slightly more experienced person than most villager NPCs (especially when looking at farmers, herders, fishers, occupations). So, having that huge change of ruleset seems strange to me. 

Given the options of 1) slip (or simplification) of some NPC stat blocks; or 2) complete change of rules on Rune Points and spell access for NPCs, I'd presume #1. (Occham's Razor and all)

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17 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

No, I figured they thought that the rules were too restrictive to players (especially the one-use rule), and decided to change it (just as there's been a significant, and game-world changing, alteration to sorcery).

RQ2-Glorantha, RQ3-Glorantha, HeroQuest-Glorantha, RQG-Glorantha, 13th-Age-Glorantha, these are all the same game world. It doesn't change depending on what game system you are using. We had this discussion in my old RQ3 group when we started playtesting the Jovanovic RQ4 rules, "If he can't cast all his spells with a duration of 6 weeks any more, my character would notice the change!", which I reject entirely.

Edited by PhilHibbs

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

Gloranthan reality didn't change when Jeff woke up one morning and decided "screw it, lets just give them all the common spells, that's so much easier and it encourages people to find uses for the more obscure spells".

That's mainly what's been bothering me about this. At first I figured that the changes in this edition meant only that PCs were more capable at divine magic right out of the gate, to give runes and cults a bigger focus, but if that retroactively affects the rest of the setting, and means that every adult has a couple rune points laying around and acess to all common rune spells, then I'd say that's a pretty significant shift in tone to the game for me.

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31 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

RQ2-Glorantha, RQ3-Glorantha, HeroQuest-Glorantha, RQG-Glorantha, 13th-Age-Glorantha, these are all the same game world. It doesn't change depending on what game system you are using. We had this discussion in my old RQ3 group when we started playtesting the Jovanovic RQ4 rules, "If he can't cast all his spells with a duration of 6 weeks any more, my character would notice the change!", which I reject entirely.

Yeah...  I know it's the same world - in general. But in specific, that doesn't mean various changes haven't been enacted. Sorcerers now need to sacrifice a point of POW to contact a Rune, and have a number of techniques to learn, and don't have multispell, duration, intensity skills... 

If those rules can change, so too the Rune spells available.

The only logical counter-argument I can see is if some serious heroquesting has happened to (fairly fundamentally) change the nature of the magical world (and like in 1984, everyone just goes with it like that's the way it's always been).

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35 minutes ago, BlindPumpkin said:

That's mainly what's been bothering me about this. At first I figured that the changes in this edition meant only that PCs were more capable at divine magic right out of the gate, to give runes and cults a bigger focus, but if that retroactively affects the rest of the setting, and means that every adult has a couple rune points laying around and acess to all common rune spells, then I'd say that's a pretty significant shift in tone to the game for me.

FWIW, I always thought many of the basic NPCs did have a few points of Rune magic on them... But very specifically related to their occupation.

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18 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

The only logical counter-argument I can see is if some serious heroquesting has happened to (fairly fundamentally) change the nature of the magical world (and like in 1984, everyone just goes with it like that's the way it's always been).

Yes, we talked about that as well, but I'm not convinced. Who are these questers and what were they trying to do? If you decide you don't like the new rules and go back to a previous rule system (which we did, JRQ4 was too fiddly for us), does that mean that the changes didn't take hold, or that someone else quested to change them back? No, that's not something that I'm interested in incorporating into my Glorantha. I can see why some people love the idea though. In a different game world, I might enjoy that conceit. In theory, every game world has this possible question whenever new editions come out, and OOTS covered it brilliantly.

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24 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

FWIW, I always thought many of the basic NPCs did have a few points of Rune magic on them... But very specifically related to their occupation.

That's similar to how I always imagined it also. Basically every small community/settlement would have at least someone initiated with 1-2 points into a very specific rune spell to help with their labors during the season, which he got by dutiful worship and consulting with a priest of the cult. That meant divine intervention was common, but not mundane/casual, it was still something special. I hope things stay that way, and the new changes are meant solely for adventurers.

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2 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

RQ2-Glorantha, RQ3-Glorantha, HeroQuest-Glorantha, RQG-Glorantha, 13th-Age-Glorantha, these are all the same game world. It doesn't change depending on what game system you are using. We had this discussion in my old RQ3 group when we started playtesting the Jovanovic RQ4 rules, "If he can't cast all his spells with a duration of 6 weeks any more, my character would notice the change!", which I reject entirely.

Out of curiosity, why do you reject that idea? At what line would you say that a system's change would impact a character's capabilities and therefore change the character? I mean, what if a new rules set did away with RQ3 sorcery and replaced it with Luner Sorcery from GoG, that would have a drastic impact on someone's PC if they had been a sorcerer. Why shouldn't that be a noticeable change? Similarly, though perhaps more absurd,  if someone was playing a weapon master and then the new rules changed or removed that weapon from play, or prevented that character from reaching those levels of skill...how does that not impact the player and their vision of the character?

Note, I realize I'm arguing against my own interests here as I've had this same debate with my wife...she hates it when I convert characters to new systems and things change (even subtly). I'm just interested in hearing another DM's rationale for making my argument. ;)

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2 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

RQ2-Glorantha, RQ3-Glorantha, HeroQuest-Glorantha, RQG-Glorantha, 13th-Age-Glorantha, these are all the same game world. It doesn't change depending on what game system you are using. We had this discussion in my old RQ3 group when we started playtesting the Jovanovic RQ4 rules, "If he can't cast all his spells with a duration of 6 weeks any more, my character would notice the change!", which I reject entirely.

If the game world does not change when the game system change, Hero Wars, and then Heroquest would never had existed. The Glorantha in HW/HQ is not the same than the one in RQIII. This is partly due to a change in vision, but also to the change in game system. And the Glorantha in RQG is not the same than the one in RQ2 or RQIII, in great part due to the changes in the system. The simple fact to have sorcery give a different Gloranthat than RQ2.

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1 minute ago, Kloster said:

The Glorantha in HW/HQ is not the same than the one in RQIII

I think there's no more to say than "I disagree".

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I do think that more than an Orlanthi All of the Sartarites are initiates - many of them to one or more of their wyters.

My reasoning: if you go and gift your wyter with your POW, you might just as well initiate to it, and increase its rune spell pool when enough initiates are present. There should be no extra 10% tithe for gifting the wyter with your POW, and the rites to the Wyter are part of your annual ritual time allotment anyway.

You will want a wyter with a high POW, because that's a wyter that can hold a lot of magic points, and provide spirit magic (like Heal 6 to re-attach a limb) more than a few times. Pretty handy for a warband.

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

I do think that more than an Orlanthi All of the Sartarites are initiates - many of them to one or more of their wyters.

True. The literature does strongly suggest that basically ALL (abstract ALL) Sartarites over the age of about 13 are initiates, usually Orlanth for the men, Ernalda for the women. The fact that Harmast hasn't been initiated by 18 is seen as a horrible and strange thing, part of the oppression of Lokimoki. So it's easy to assume that the initiation rates in Heortling society are much, much higher than they are in Peloria. I feel like in Peloria, initiation is reserved for the elite and the vast majority are laymembers. Likewise, combat skills are almost unheard of in the general population. In Sartar EVERYONE serves in the fyrd and EVERYONE has at least a Rune Point or two.

Worth noting, both Orlanth and Ernalda have Shield, Orlanth has Lightning, Ernalda has Bless Champion and Heal Body. Plus elementals.

Even in peacetime, Sartarites are constantly honing their combat skills by fighting their favored enemy... other Sartarites. Cattle raids are really just practice guerilla warfare. Plus there's the trolls and the werewolves and the elves and the dragonnewts and the broos etc etc etc to deal with. Sartarites are TOUGH. (I still remember the old FOES supplement with NPC stats were the local barber was a goddamn killing machine.)

If you're a Lunar unit used to garrison duty, with your only (somewhat rare) combat experience limited to putting down slave rebellions, hunting bandits, and quelling the occasional riot, trying to pacify a Sartarite community is going to be a rude awakening.

I played this out in my house campaign when the Lunars finally got sick of the PCs and sent a legion (XIII) to pacify their clan. I let the players organize the defenses. They delivered a series of rude shocks to the Lunars.

Rude Shock #1: The population of Treefell clan is triple the official census.

Rude Shock #2: Everyone over 13 is at least an initiate.

Rude Shock #3: 90% of the adult men and 10% of the adult women are well-trained in combat and small unit tactics. 90% of the women and 10% of the men are trained field medics/support magicians. A large percentage of the adult women are able to respec into combat magic with sufficient warning if needed (VINGA!)

Rude Shock #4: Terrain entirely unfriendly to Lunar tactics but super friendly to locals.

Rude Shock #5: Locals completely willing to abandon their main town and retreat up into the mountains. Town has no strategic or tactical value. (Lunars are big on taking towns. That usually works back home.)

Rude Shock #6: Air superiority.

Rude Shock #7: Massive mobility magic. All battle conditions dictated by locals.

Rude Shock #8: SO MANY GNOMES!

Rude Shock #9: Secret Trickster shrine means special illusion magic for hiding troops. Lie spells shouted from clifftops at massed troops are really really OP.

Rude Shock #10: Where did those Dragonnewts come from? Why is this happening to us?

It just went on and on. 

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25 minutes ago, RHW said:

The literature does strongly suggest that basically ALL (abstract ALL) Sartarites over the age of about 13 are initiates, usually Orlanth for the men, Ernalda for the women. The fact that Harmast hasn't been initiated by 18 is seen as a horrible and strange thing, part of the oppression of Lokimoki. So it's easy to assume that the initiation rates in Heortling society are much, much higher than they are in Peloria. I feel like in Peloria, initiation is reserved for the elite and the vast majority are laymembers.

I agree with this written interpretation, and I tend to take it that far (or further) in my games. That being said, I recall a conversation on these forums last year where I believe Jeff or someone else on the Dev team confirmed that "most responsible adults are initiates" (somewhere in RQG--can't find it presently) really means "Lay Members." Which yes, is super confusing. I don't recall that thread's title, but I believe the context was "So everyone on Glorantha is a game-term Initiate now?" and discussing the change from most adults are lay members. So basically the authors using "initiates/initiating" in multiple senses, which is honestly a right pain in the arse. I understand the author's intentions to be that "initiating into adulthood" doesn't mean gaining Rune points.

However, I do play My Glorantha as you've described; almost every person is a game-Initiate, with Rune points and magic powers. Most are of less adventures-relevant deities, like Barntar the Plow God or Uralda the Cow Goddess, but nearly everyone has a little Rune magic. I do this for a variety of reasons, one of which is so I can tell my players "don't go murder-hoboing into a tavern brawl if you don't want to deal with Orlanthi farmers chucking Lightning."

Related to that thread, IIRC, were discussions about how the adventurer creation rules don't reflect average folks, in contrast to RQ3's creation rules (I think?) which were meant to generate normal schmucks who became adventurers and major figures. This is even true of the "normal" occupations like Farmer, Fisher, etc. My understanding is that a random Orlanthi farmer is not created by slapping the Farmer occupation skills on (although I suggest that the base skill% + Homeland modifier is probably relevant for reflecting Gloranthan realities).

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1 hour ago, Crel said:

I do this for a variety of reasons, one of which is so I can tell my players "don't go murder-hoboing into a tavern brawl if you don't want to deal with Orlanthi farmers chucking Lightning."

This exact scenario is something that I think harms my interest in this new Glorantha, if that's the "canon" new interpretation of general rune magic and cult initiation. I always thought of Sartar as hard to tame because of the same reason Cimmeria is hard to tame; barbarian clans used to skirmishing all the time getting together will be a hellish fighting force. It never sounded to me that it was because Sartarite farmers could fly and cast lightning.

King of Dragon Pass for example, my personal introduction to Glorantha, and RQ 2 and 3 had a much grittier and mystical interpretation of divine intervention and how runes affected the cultures, and it would be really weird to me if they simply came out and said "yeah nah, ignore all of that, actually everyone is walking around with prepped rune magic now"

I think it takes away from the awe of seeing a rune lord channeling their god in the midst of battle and bringing divine carnage upon their enemies when everyone is going around with a pocketful of divine favors.

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1 hour ago, Crel said:

I do this for a variety of reasons, one of which is so I can tell my players "don't go murder-hoboing into a tavern brawl if you don't want to deal with Orlanthi farmers chucking Lightning."

3 minutes ago, BlindPumpkin said:

This exact scenario is something that I think harms my interest in this new Glorantha, if that's the "canon" new interpretation of general rune magic and cult initiation. I always thought of Sartar as hard to tame because of the same reason Cimmeria is hard to tame; barbarian clans used to skirmishing all the time getting together will be a hellish fighting force. It never sounded to me that it was because Sartarite farmers could fly and cast lightning.

I don't think many farmers will have Lightning. They will have Barntar magic, I think Barntar is an Orlanth subcult now, rather than Adventurous, although it's listed as an Associate Cult in the Orlanth writeup so I might be wrong. I think the distinction between a separate cult and a subcult is fairly shady in some cases.

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I really loved King of Dragon Pass myself. In my opinion the new RQ:G system better models the abundance of magical assistance that building a shrine or temple and properly supporting it brings to the community. A single shrine to Humakt supplies your CLAN with Trueswords. Construct a Great Temple to Orlanth, Temples to Humakt, and Elmal and you have Advantage in almost every kind of battle. KoDP always gave me the impression that the community gets a TON of magic for building things for and sacrificing to the gods, as much as appeasing ancestors and all the rest of maintaining healthy Clan Magic. 

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