Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A side excursion

Due to a conflict in scheduling, neither Evie (Osprey, Jokatis), nor Trunk (Harrothgar) were able to make session, so I came up with a quick scenario off the top of my head. Grettir was arrested for having killed the three thieves and was brought before the Kin & a mysterious half-red painted councilor. She was obvious the real power in the room & the King her puppet. When Grettir can't be proved false, despite a half dozen witnesses against him, the King demands to read the Scroll Grettir's mother had given him. After a bargaining, the scroll was to be merely tested for evil against Sartar, but the councilor reads it anyway & forces Grettir to take a scroll to the New Lunar Temple otherwise his friends would be executed. 

Grettir & Aelwynn undertake this trip. Along the way they stumble into a trap set by Kallyr Starbrow & friends. Kallyr barters fairly with Grettir & lets Grettir know where the goal of his personal quest lies if he will let them doctor the scrolls he carries & the ones he is to return with. Everything proceeds as planned at the New Lunar Temple and The pair start their return journey & meet up with Kallyr. This deal is met by both sides and they part as friends. When Grettir returns with the return scrolls the seals pass inspection so the crisis is averted but they now have a Lunar enemy and under the disfavor of the King.

The party is reunited & will proceed upon its way.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Maundering in Glorantha

Though I had played D&D when it first came out, my fondest RPG is and always will be Runequest (RQ). I've used RQ for a number of settings starting even back in the 70's during the first play-testing (I have what is evidently the last copy of the original playtest & Steve still blames me for designing the Resistance Table - a very minor contribution actually & has been much improved on). I created a number of proof of concept settings & ran test adventures including settings for Steampunk (though it was called either 19th century SciFi or Victorian Science Fiction back in the 70's) and Futuristic Science Fiction, WW2, Napoleonic & 18th century settings. RQ is a very powerful and versatile game that is reasonable priced from free per donation for Runequest Essentials scroll down page to the donate link & pdf link) covering what any player needs to the whole complete book of Runequest 6th Edition which covers everything from Player to Gamemaster, Bestiary, 5 kinds of magic, & more. You can also find it at Drive-thru RPG Runequest page.. Note there are also variant settings for RQ such as Mystic Britain and you can find German & French editions.

Here's a video overview from a few years back: Youtube - RQ6 overview by one of the authors.

RQ will be strange to some of you because (& it was the first RPG to use this concept) there are no levels or character classes & uses a single simple mechanic to resolve all issues, be they Skills, Magic, or Combat! No classes means your character has no limits & is a collection of skills you choose to focus on. During character creation you get some starting skills based on your culture & apprenticeship profession, but where you go from there is your choice as long as you can find a teacher or experiment a lot. Character creation takes a little longer than some RPG's but it makes up for it by letting the game run faster & allows the characters to drive the bus wherever they desire without being too tied down to an adventure plot. The GM can vary things easily & rapidly.

Native to RQ is a setting called Glorantha that sprang from Greg Stafford's mind starting in 1966. He is a brilliant man, good-hearted, & witty, so if you ever get the chance to, introduce yourself. But Glorantha is very loosely similar to our Bronze Age in some of it's core design. Many different kinds of beings, Humans, Elves (Plant grown beings), Dwarves (originated from stone), Broos, Trolls, talking Ducks, & even sentient Tapirs, to name a few. It is a very fleshed out world with thousands of pages of material. For example the Argan Argar Atlas is 130 pages of maps alone. Order & Chaos war for control of the universe.

Well after that preamble let's talk about the campaign I'm running. I am the opening Gamemaster but we will be running this as a Troop campaign where any of the members can volunteer to also gamemaster an adventure. Carl runs a Praxian Rhino-rider Grettir Windwander) & a Humackti woman (Grim Signey). Erin herds a Vinga adventuress (Kara Redspear) & a Llankor My scholar (Aelwyn Larsdottir). Evie is present in the form of a mischievious Esrolian thief (Osprey) & a Zebra rider from Prax (Jokatis). Trunk has a Sartar Orlanthi warrior (Harrothgar). Presently the two Glorantha & RQ experienced players, Carl & myself, have temporarily divvied the GMing up in that I run adventures in and around Dragon Pass, Sartar, Tarsh & nearby areas. Carl will handle the Plains of Prax zone.

The current adventure starts in Swenstown (I didn't name it, Greg did - & he happened to have 2 friends Anders Swenson & myself plus Jonstown is named after another friend - Glorantha is littered with Easter Eggs that way). Swenstown is on the border between Prax & Sartar/Dragon Pass where a caravan road ends. All of the characters are either a member of or connected to the Orlmarthing Tribe lead by Chief Gordanger who has been suffering from massive losses to his herds of horses. He has sent the party with the outward goal of baring gifts to Renalda the priestess of the Horse Goddess in Runegate, a weeks ride away. He hopes to have her return & bless the land & cast away the affliction that is plaguing his herds. Secretly he also charges the party under the cover of the Runegate trip to pass through Apple Lane & warn an old Tribal friend named Gringle that he is in danger of being murdered since the puppet King of Sartar, at the behest of his Lunar Empire masters, has removed the protection of law over Gringle & declared him "outlaw".

The party has ridden for two days, encountering other travelers with news & encounter difficulties in the form of Lunar Empire patrols that they have fortunately managed to talk their way past those forces. Boldhome is the first city on their journey (or at least is what passes for a city in this neck of the woods). Most of the party stayed at an Inn where they foiled an attempt by local thugs to steal their gifts (horses & gold) while they slept. However Grettir, Carl's Rhino-rider, is not fond of towns so sleeps out in a nearby pasture. The thieves not being able to score at the inn sneak up on Grettir, but he valiantly wakes & defends himself. Quickly he cleaves off the arm of his first attacker then finishes him. Though another attacker tries to grapple him from behind, but is rather to small to do the job & is soon flung off & dispatched. The last sneak-thief, grabbed Grettir' pack & is running madly towards town. Before he can get their Grettir mounts his war rhino & thoroughly tramples the fleeing villain - in mechanics terms he rolled a critical success while the bad guy fails, so the damage is hideous & spread over his head & abdomen pulping both so thoroughly that not only is the body beyond healing or resurrecting, but even Lanbril (God of Thieves) won't be able to sort him from the grass, mustard plant & rocky soil.

We left it there because the session was a short one due to a massive traffic jam that cost us 2-1/2 hours up front.

Stay tuned for more! Next Episode Jonstown & perhaps beyond that Trolls & Dancing Dragonewts!