Friday, December 3, 2010

It would have been good to know...

I recently found the text below in the RuneQuest II Forum. I'd have liked to have come across it much earlier.
I would recommend that anyone playing in Glorantha read either HeroQuest Voices or the 2nd Age Equivalent material in the Mongoose Books. That you only concern yourself with a few cults at a time. Keep non-humans as the weird and mystical, keep foreign powers the same where you can. Remember that if you take a small area that you can develop your own campaign around and then develop it your own way, rather than trying to tackle a huge amount of detail. If you want to create your own material, but use the Gloranthan material their are lots of little places where this can be done.

Some suggested places to start...

A small Orlanthi clan - It doesn't matter really if this is in Ralios or Kethaela, just create a small village or similar at its heart, some local woods inhabitted perhaps by local spirits, perhaps some elves or even a dragonewt. Then you need a few local hills, perhaps with the odd caves that are taboo, perhaps because they hold monsters or are of a religious nature. This is Glorantha so there should be at least one weird location from a forgotten era, a collossal face in the wilderness, a strange henge or monument or an bizarre ruin.

The inhabitants of this area need to be pencilled out, work out who the chieftain is, his wife, his champion, the local healer, a shaman or priest and perhaps two more local characters (a bully, love intrest or mysterious stranger).

Cults, keep it simple, Have most men worship Orlanth, most women worship Ernalda, then have the Champion worship Humakt, there will be most likely one follower of Lhankor Mhy, Chalana Arroy, Odayla or even Vinga. If you are doing a Draconised clan then you need to use Orlanth the Dragon and Ernalda the Scale. You now need at least one source of conflict, a nearby clan, a troll tribe, nearby foreigners (Coastal Pirates, Praxian Nomads, or a small group of God Learners, is a good source). You will need to know a few protagonist from that enemy, their leader etc. You only need to know a little about this enemy to start with.

If you are playing a Dara Happan game, then instead of a Village you could look at setting the game in a small section of a city, familiarise yourself with the head of the household or Association, your family priest, the local merchants and perhaps a couple of NPC's in the association guard. Keep the cults simple, choose one or two. The opposition in the game comes not from monsters but from opposing Associations. If you want to play a bigger plot then bring in the Golden Dragon Emperor and the EWF cronies. Alternatively why not create your own small town, there are plenty of sources on the net, from maps to building plans (Look a Babylonian, Assyrian sites for inspiration). You can then make the oppositions barbarian raiders, river pirates, foreigner polluting your purity).

If you are playing a game with a nomadic culture, it is not the location that is important, but the journey that is being undertaken. Think about a route and detail a number of encounters along it. You need to know who the chieftain or khan is, who the healers, warriors and potential wives are. Most nomad cultures are shamanic, so encounters do not just have to be of the physical kind, clan members could be possessed by hostile ancestors or spirit animals could be encountered. Again focus on a couple of primary great spirits. Enemies should be traditional ones for Praxians it could be Chaos, Pentans or other Praxian tribes. For Pentans it will be Praxians, Trolls and Foreigners from the east or west. For Agimori it could be God Learners, Fonritan Slavers or monsters. You also have to remember that the weather and elements will play a big part in these stories.

For the God Learners and Empire of the Wyrms Friends it is probably easiest to think about a cell or small group. The God Learners will be seeking to explore the world, perhaps upon a ship. Their scenarios could be a lot more about exploring the world, in some respects you only need to understand the God Learner perspective to do this, they will see each culture in this manner, as resources to be taken, entities to be categorised or people to be conquered, whilst protecting their own interests.

The EWF will be similar, they are seeking draconic connections in the world, to spread the word. Both groups are essentially being sent on Missions in this case, for the better good of the Empire. Thier enemies are each other, and those that oppose their progression, but most of all it is their internal conflicts that will bave the greatest impact on most games. Create several 'Bosses' above the players and some contacts.

- Simon Bray

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