Jump to content
klecser

Practical Elder Race Play Questions

Recommended Posts

Many of my players want to play Elder Races. I recognize that many Elder Races are estranged from Human Civilization, so I'm trying to figure out how to construct a situation that would allow a Green Elf and a Duck (or any Elder Race) to participate in a game. I made it very clear to them that we are not running a DND game with a different setting and that there could be challenges associated with playing Elder Races. At the same time, these Elder Races are some of the main carrots dangling in front of faces that interest a lot of new players. Especially if they came from DND. They are used to and are most interested in the fantastical. So part of the goal here is to combine the best of both worlds and not say "no" when just a little work can meld everyone's desires together.

Items that need solving:

1) What angle could I take that could explain why Elder Races would associate with humans? For the Green Elf I was thinking that they could be an emissary for Green Elves trying to work with humans even if their people won't? They either wouldn't go into human towns, or is there some kind of glamour that they could cast that would allow them to do so?

2) The stats for armor for Elder Races are frequently very low numbers in the Bestiary. For example, a Duck has average armor values in the 2-3 range. Does this mean that Ducks CAN'T or DON'T wear the heftier armor value pieces of humans? Or is that a "commoner" value? It's going to be a hard sell for one of my players to "really want to play a Duck" and then find that Ducks have no armor and they have basically chosen a mechanically less effective character.

"No, you can't do that" isn't going to be an option here, so please consider helping me address the situation over going into "THAT NOT HOW GLORANTHA WORK!" mode. This isn't the thread for you, if that's your reaction. Thanks much. ;)

Edited by klecser
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ducks are easy to add as they participate in Orlanthi culture anyway and are basically people. Anyone picking a duck expecting a good fighter (or good anything physical, really) is in for a disappointment, though. That's just how it is.

Trolls are people, just usually enemy people. You want some Argan Argar worshiper to make a troll crossover work.

Broken dwarves or Pavis dwarves aren't inconceivable as PCs (other dwarves likely are).

Elves... that's hard. Potentially some kind of ambassador elf? Or an unlikely alliance in pursuit of a common goal? The Yelmalio cult may be your best bridging tool here, as the elves have it as well.

Nothing should theoretically be stopping non-humans from wearing heavier armour,  but I imagine it's a rare duck that puts on enough armour that swimming is no longer an option. Also, it all has to be custom made or adapted if you have a weird body type.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Common enemy is a fair bet, a Malia cult expansion in the marginal regions between humans and elder races, a chaos bloom. Something on those lines? Elves and other man-rune races have a bit of an empathy problem, but they at least can make an effort to produce scions that look man like and can pick up human/troll/baboon emotional cues when the forest council decideds that there is an interest in communication. Dragonnewts and Orthodox Mostali are pretty difficult to plumb in. Even Pavis Dwarves are unlikely to join up with other elder race companions. At least the Pavis and Elder-wilds have some concentrations of elder race habitation close enough to each other to have occasions for contact. They don't have a lot of trust for each other, but then young adventurers have less respect for tradition than the average non-human

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Openhanded Dwarfs or Individualist Dwarfs are easy to put into play. As @Akhôrahils says Parvis Flintnail cultist Dwarfs are the obvious choice. Maybe Dwarf Mine in Dragon Pass as an origin. A possible Elf source for an Elf is a New Seed Traveller. Duck adventurers are common and won't raise an eyebrow in Dragon Pass and Parvis. Trolls have relationships with some Orlanthi communities.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, klecser said:

For the Green Elf I was thinking that they could be an emissary for Green Elves trying to work with humans even if their people won't? They either wouldn't go into human towns, or is there some kind of glamour that they could cast that would allow them to do so?

You most certainly can have an elf adventurer, and it could inspire some fine role-playing opportunities, but I think the thing here is that it should not just be down to the GM to come up with a credible reason for Aldryami to be part of a mixed adventuring group.

If your player wants to play an elf then let them rationalise what the bejeezus they are doing outside of their forest, getting into scrapes with a bunch of Orlanthi etc - and if it doesn't make sense, tell them nobody believes them, have NPCs (and perhaps other players) react in an appropriately suspicious fashion, and encourage them to come up with something better.

Also, think about the other practicalities - where will they worship to recover their Rune Magic? Will they return to the forest regularly to do so? Will they face prejudice amongst the Sartarites? At the very least they'll be looked upon as an oddity wherever they go, and will be singled out by trolls on sight. These are problems that you could base at least a session or two around (e.g. founding a shrine to Aldrya outside of the forest). I think players intending to play non-humans should be aware of what they'll be up against, otherwise they are likely to feel put-upon when the world does not respond to them in the same way as the Forgotten Realms etc would.

A common goal is fine, but once it has been achieved you'd probably expect the elf to return to the trees, so you'd need to think about transforming that goal into something long-term sooner rather than later.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Give the elf a bag of sacred seeds, and tell them they are on a mission to secretly plant them wherever they can. Nobody gave them this mission, they just instinctively know that it is what they should be doing. They hear it in the whispering leaves of every tree.

Maybe they need to plant a seed before they can get each Rune Point back. Maybe "planting" just feels sooo gooooood....

Edited by PhilHibbs
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Give the elf a bag of sacred seeds, and tell them they are on a mission to secretly plant them wherever they can. Nobody gave them this mission, they just instinctively know that it is what they should be doing. They hear it in the whispering leaves of every tree.

Maybe they need to plant a seed before they can get each Rune Point back. Maybe "planting" just feels sooo gooooood....

No need to get seedy.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, everyone.

Followup: There is nothing stopping me from telling a player that they can make a Duck that wears armor of the point values common to humans, correct? But at the same time, encumbrance is a significant aspect of RQ, and they would pretty much be making it impossible for them to swim.

Followup: When you make a Duck adventurer, what do you do? Duck priest/magic combatant? How do you make a Duck "shine" in RQG? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, klecser said:

Thank you, everyone.

Followup: There is nothing stopping me from telling a player that they can make a Duck that wears armor of the point values common to humans, correct? But at the same time, encumbrance is a significant aspect of RQ, and they would pretty much be making it impossible for them to swim.

Followup: When you make a Duck adventurer, what do you do? Duck priest/magic combatant? How do you make a Duck "shine" in RQG? 

Ducks have lower STR than human, so the ENC problem can be very problematic. With the same armors a human is wearing, your duck will barely be able to walk. RQIII had armor ENC depending on SIZ, but not RQG.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After an initial common enemy/goal has been dealt with an aldryami community might encourage the 'ambassador' elf to continue to spend at least some time with his comrades because... they want a reliable informant with access beyond the Aldryami lands / when somebody needs assassinating it is easier not to have to sneak into a town or lure them out of one / picking up weird non-aldryami ways makes them uncomfortable and there is a haunting concern that their agent may have gone native

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my games as long as their cults aren't hostile to each other, you can pretty much play anything.

  • What's the story - they've heard the Call to Adventure (most important).
  • Why is everyone together - new experiences and adventure to be had.
  • Why are we cooperating - because we want the thrill of adventure.
  • Is my non-human adventurer an odd member of their society - maybe, but it's within the norm.
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


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

Followup: When you make a Duck adventurer, what do you do? Duck priest/magic combatant? How do you make a Duck "shine" in RQG? 

Bestiary pages 31-32. Per the box on page 31, any occupation is available and Ducks worship the Orlanthi deities.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Bestiary pages 31-32. Per the box on page 31, any occupation is available and Ducks worship the Orlanthi deities.

Thanks David. What I'm thinking of though: is it WISE to play a front line fighter, as a Duck? You can. I understand that. What I fear is that one of my players makes an uninformed choice and walks up and gets smacked when I can do pre work to help them recognize a pitfall.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, klecser said:

Thanks David. What I'm thinking of though: is it WISE to play a front line fighter, as a Duck? You can. I understand that. What I fear is that one of my players makes an uninformed choice and walks up and gets smacked when I can do pre work to help them recognize a pitfall.

I don't see it as problem unless you run combat heavy games (I don't). Personally I would discourage Duck fighters, but they do like Humakt (I find that humakti adventurers problematic in games with little fighting). I have a centaur adventurer in my game. He has the opposite problem, he has a large damage bonus, likewise i've had troll characters with the same problem. You do need to make them aware of

Quote

Most ducks have a special Passion of Cowardly 60%, which acts in a similar fashion to Honor but enforces craven behavior.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, klecser said:

Thanks David. What I'm thinking of though: is it WISE to play a front line fighter, as a Duck? You can. I understand that. What I fear is that one of my players makes an uninformed choice and walks up and gets smacked when I can do pre work to help them recognize a pitfall.

There is a long tradition of playing Humakti Ducks, known as Death Drakes and Storm Bull Ducks, known as Storm Bills. In one of my campaigns from the 80s someone played a female Death Drake called Hen-Hur. It's not always about min/max but the narrative strength of a character. Minsc in Baldurs Gate is a prime example.

  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Most ducks have a special Passion of Cowardly 60%

Personally, I wouldn't impose that on a PC Duck unless the player was genuinely interested in role-playing such a character.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Sumath said:

Personally, I wouldn't impose that on a PC Duck unless the player was genuinely interested in role-playing such a character.

Much the same as I would not impose honour on a player lest he choose it himself.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Sumath said:

Personally, I wouldn't impose that on a PC Duck unless the player was genuinely interested in role-playing such a character.

It's less than 80% so the GM can't force it and clearly the most part doesn't apply to an Adventurer who has taken warrior as an occupation. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having individuals from one of the three major elder races join the party places a number of restrictions on the party. As a rule, it is hard to be both an elf friend and a troll friend, and whether it is possible to be a reciprocated friend of dwarves isn't quite clear, although it is possible to be a valuable asset in some greater task of those dwarfs.

Aldryami and Mostali have mandatory home leave, or drag their human companions along to their homes. Aldryami in Colymar lands might join Tarndisi's grove, which would make their way home rather short.

The Elder Race encounters in Griffin Mountain are rather untypical of their respective species, written to please normal elf/dwarf expectations. The mostali party consists of individualists with too many generalist skills, and their leader should really be a noncombatant Gold dwarf rather than the competent warrior king. They are however what many RQ2 players regard as their Elder Race normal.

 

Trolls as party members are easy. They have a number of disgusting habits, but that's not different from certain human stereotypes like alcoholic Storm Bull berserks or tricksters. It helps to have one or two humans with similar predilections in the party. Trollkin may be a lot easier - they make excellent ablative meat and tragicomical relief, and can be on par with ducks. Great Trolls are first and foremost meat shields. But both great trolls and trollkin can be real characters - a trollkin could easily fill the role of Sam Gamgee to another party leader and provide servitor wisdom, and a great troll could act as a moral compass and even as social glue. Dark Trolls are power houses, especially female ones (XU healers somewhat less).

 

Unbroken aldryami following High King Elf or one of the deities shared between aldryami and humans may attach themselves to Yelmalians and Earth worshipers. They are pretty restricted in their abilities to interact with larger groups of humans, and they will have to have some sort of mission, whether gathering intelligence or persecuting specific enemies of the forest. Aldryami twenagers might set out or be sent out to experience humans and other non-aldryami. Other types of aldryami may be played, too - dryads and pixies are possible. A dryad away from her tree/grove would be rare, and would have to have a very special doom or mission, but with a high likelihood to be a shamaness there might be a sufficiently good motivation. Even so, many an aldryami will be unavailable for certain missions, and have a hard time to participate in things like the Sacred Time rites away from their own people.

 

 

Greatway Individualist Openhandists are borderline able to join a party, but would need some reason to do so, too, and some means to be effective.  A work team might be easier to integrate than individuals.

A tin darf operating a set of gremlins and/or nilmergs might actually have enough indirect abilities to be an adventurer.

Iron dwarfs are pretty boring munchkin warrior-smiths. If you want a tank, especially against trolls or elves, having an iron dwarf on your team is fine.

A gold dwarf could be inquisitive, but their main role is that of an overseer and decision maker. Useless in practical skills, a gold dwarf would need some subjects to heed his commands unfailingly in order to put up with more disorderly people (like e.g. a disciplined team of Templars).

I think that a mixed party of several dwarfs and attached humans might be able to work, with a dwarf-driven storyline.

 

Merfolk are difficult to integrate into any land-based adventuring. A predominantly coastal/high seas game can have them, and the Holy Country boasts two cities that can be visited by merfolk, too - certain roads of Nochet, and most of Seapolis. The City of Wonders used to be such a place, too, and it is possible that the fish road nexus somehow survived the disappearance of most of the rest of the city.

 

Dragonewts as player characters will probably produce rather variant Gloranthan experiences.

 

Other non-human species are easier to integrate, although centaurs are almost as limited in their choice of terrain as are merfolk. Morokanth might be a lot easier, although narrow passages or steep inclines mean the end of the road for them, too. Ethilrist's demon horses can at least send out their riders - a possibility for Morokanth with awakened herd men, too.

Wind children are hopeless for indoors activities. Wyrms as player characters are oversized and both overpowered and under-skilled.

 

Two-legged beastfolk, newtling bachelors, magisaurs, tusk riders, baboons, gorillas, keets and other such creatures work as party members with similar effects as trolls. Lunar cultist chaos humanoids might be feasible in Lunar lands, but would require some World of Darkness approach to deal with their destructive urges. (Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda TV series has a broo PC, Rev Bem, in all but name, but that crew is as weirdo as a crew can get.)

 

Pairing such characters with a sidekick to function as ersatz-character in those situations where the main character cannot function might be a way to solve the individual exclusion problems. Otherwise, your party might need some kind of followers that can be shared by players of currently inconvenienced characters - something like the Ars Magica troupe play.

If you want a party with exotic party members, these exots will always be outside of their own social group other than the party. You can have something like Torath Manover's Lightbringer party with a fledgeling exile power structure of their own. You should be prepared to bring the party into the homeland of their exots on a regular basis unless those characters play the exile for some reason.

 

It is your choice how whacky and how surreal you want your Glorantha to play out. Personally, I prefer atmospherically dense gaming over weirdness. Would-be players of extreme characters should give me a good idea how they want to play such a character, what kind of storyline they see for those special challenges of such a character, and how they mean to integrate that character into the party and the storyline. That goes for ducks as well as for trolls or ludoch.

Special needs characters can expect to be left out in certain scenarios, and as a consequence will have slower skill progression than the rest of the party. There cannot be a guarantee that they will balance this with more spotlight in scenarios where they can participate, either. When playing the savage bodyguard/sidekick of some socially well integrated leader, I aim to be socially embarrassing in a consistent way, and can be as much a pain in the posterior as a well-behaved trickster. When GMing such a party, I expect some consistency, too, and a roundabout way to produce results rather than "good Orlanthi style behavior" by non-Orlanthi (replace with Esrolian or Praxian as needed).

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, klecser said:

Many of my players want to play Elder Races. I recognize that many Elder Races are estranged from Human Civilization, so I'm trying to figure out how to construct a situation that would allow a Green Elf and a Duck (or any Elder Race) to participate in a game

 

4 hours ago, klecser said:

Followup: When you make a Duck adventurer, what do you do? Duck priest/magic combatant? How do you make a Duck "shine" in RQG? 

I would worry about personality long before, all the way during and long after the character creation. That would be to make him or her shine! To just be a good character... that's a different matter.

I have been trying to figure out how to say this since your character creation videos. I have a niggling bother and I do not want to dampen enthusiasm but I find a little bit to much worry about min/maxing in your thinking.

If you use common sense, It is very hard to nerf a character in RQ G. Not very hard, just hard. Make it a difficult ride, yes, simply choose a character with disadvantages. A duck perhaps. Howard the Duck was a mistake walking, a wise-quacking Neanderthal cigar sucking, fedora wearing throwback to the forties in the groovy let to all hang out seventies. A short but kinda cute duck having sex with a bombshell, in comics. When he insults everyone, is nasty when everything is against him (in his mind that is always), how does he come through it all smelling good, A great personality to overcome all his many disadvantages. Mello Yello, MOB's own character who was a baboon who so desperately wanted to join Yelmalio he painted himself yellow and would hang out with the files and parody them when they would train. Nerfed, could be, great. Yes! 

To make an console gaming analogy If you  choose a humakti, yelmalio, chaos assassin, or elder race you have decided to choose the Difficult Setting  in your players options for DOOM 3, good luck. The defaults are of course easier. Pregens going through the adventures book easiest of all. But that is not what you are looking for. Had I warned you away from the easy path earlier when you were worrying about character generation it would be easier to say that the stats have relevancy, yes, eventually you will want 18s and 90%s but having difficulties to overcome should not dissuade you from doing it a certain way. From doing it your way.

If logic tells you that it will be more difficult one way the mechanics will usually bear this out. Not alway, sometimes the rules suck and let you down. Kinda like life. It sucks but lacks a referee to kiss it and make it all better <grin>. Sometimes it will take the campaign to finish before you have a better handle on the rules . This is okay. Not every character must be The best you can be in the army.... oops wrong public service announcement.

4 hours ago, klecser said:

There is nothing stopping me from telling a player that they can make a Duck that wears armor of the point values common to humans, correct?

No, but what is common to humans? I think 2 point or three would usually be common to humans as well

 

2 hours ago, klecser said:

Thanks David. What I'm thinking of though: is it WISE to play a front line fighter, as a Duck? You can. I understand that. What I fear is that one of my players makes an uninformed choice and walks up and gets smacked when I can do pre work to help them recognize a pitfall.

As a scout skirmisher or guide , especially in bogs, yes... Frontline otherwise, only if stats say so. or the ducks personality (as Clinton would say, define, wise)...

In answer to your question from a min/max angle... look for professions where a small size is an advantage or not a disadvantage. Thief comes to mind of course, scribe, sorcerer, detective sort, assassin. 

ETA interestingly this works by duck's personality stereotype as well as size.

Cheers

Edited by Bill the barbarian
clarity and eta
  • Like 1

Share this post


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

Trolls as party members are easy. They have a number of disgusting habits, but that's not different from certain human stereotypes like alcoholic Storm Bull berserks or tricksters. It helps to have one or two humans with similar predilections in the party. Trollkin may be a lot easier - they make excellent ablative meat and tragicomical relief, and can be on par with ducks. Great Trolls are first and foremost meat shields. But both great trolls and trollkin can be real characters - a trollkin could easily fill the role of Sam Gamgee to another party leader and provide servitor wisdom, and a great troll could act as a moral compass and even as social glue. Dark Trolls are power houses, especially female ones (XU healers somewhat less).

 

Trolls are easy, just look on the 'net!

Share this post


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

... How do you make a Duck "shine" in RQG? 

Same as the Real World...

 

 

Orange Sauce.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In our campaigns we have had some pretty succesful ducks. There are options on the world of Glorantha for almost every race to find ways to really shine. A Duck Rune-Lord can be kitted in pieces of iron for weaponry but, they can also probably wear Aluminum Armor which would make swimming not a problem at all. Most of the actual AP value in later fights is made up of Magical protection. Even wearing as much Iron armor as a Human Humakti can strap on they can only get to about 10-12/13 depending on how you read the armor stacking rules and how much ENC they can carry. Ducks are best suited to being sneaks, thieves, priests, stuff not quite as much on the front-lines like Bill said. We have had success with dual wielding Humakti Death Ducks before though. Literally a whole group of them. Though such groups tend to have a 'Shelf Life' so to speak.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Bill the barbarian said:

I have been trying to figure out how to say this since your character creation videos. I have a niggling bother and I do not want to dampen enthusiasm but I find a little bit to much worry about min/maxing in your thinking.

Bill, I don't have a problem with it personally. But I know a LOT of min-maxers. Like, a ton. I don't AGREE with it. But I've dealt with it enough that I now PREP for it for any game. An ounce of prevention...you know how the saying goes. 

I hate dealing with drama in playgroups and I like to anticipate it as quickly as possible so that I can cut it off, respectfully, right out of the gate.

These questions are the questions people WILL ask. Somebody is going to say to me: "Why should I play a Duck when a Duck has X disadvantages?" That mentality is SAD, but it is real. If you play with people who don't ask these questions, you are fortunate. But I sometimes do play with those types of players, and asking these questions in advance helps to avoid a lot of the issues. I need to be able to provide suggestions to keep things moving. This is why my friends and I 1) built our own Con and 2) stopped going to Cons. It was wall-to-wall people criticizing us at tables for building sub-optimal characters. And its part of what drove me to CoC and RQG. So, trust me, this has a happy ending.

For the videos, I'm sad to say, I tried to attenuate to optimization just so that I wouldn't get a flurry of comments complaining about how I've built a sub-optimal character. Notice how I did make quite a few decisions that were characterization-based, as opposed to stat-based. I kept my Broadsword even though someone recommended to me it wasn't the most "optimal" choice. Because I envisioned my character with a Broadsword.

Does this make me needlessly hypersensitive to something that should be a non-issue? Absolutely. My approach is rooted in being prepared for the bullspit, so that it doesn't stress me out when it happens. See, my number one goal is to give people a good experience. And if I get a min-maxer, and I'm not prepared for it, they may not have a good experience. Right or wrong. Personally, I think min-maxing is sad. People who min-max role-playing games should be playing video games instead. But that's just my perspective, and as a GM, if I stop someone from having fun just because I disagree with their play style, that doesn't make me feel ok about the situation.

Edited by klecser
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...