Elves and Dwarves?

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Postby SteveMND » Mon Jun 12, 2006 2:35 am

I can't believe I'm hearing this. Are you saying all the stuff that's been produced for HeroWars & HeroQuest are crap?
Well, speaking personally, I couldn't stand the game mechanics for the Hero Wars game (although I understand other people really like it). And while I have in the past bought lots of game material for the setting with no intention of ever running it in a game, I just couldn't justify doing the same for those at the time...
think that was quite an understatement
As to the cover art being discussed, I wish there was a larger image to refer to. :) From the looks of it, at least to me (and with the caveat that it's a very small image with limited detail available), the elf in the center doesn't look much different from the depictions of Glorantha elves as I read them from day one. As to the other figures around him, kinda hard to tell -- they look distinctly more 'tree-like' to me.

Either way, it's just a picture. They could have gotten a different artist -- like they have in the many many years of RQ -- and it might have looked completely different. :)
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Postby Adept » Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:11 am

SteveMND wrote:
I can't believe I'm hearing this. Are you saying all the stuff that's been produced for HeroWars & HeroQuest are crap?
Well, speaking personally, I couldn't stand the game mechanics for the Hero Wars game (although I understand other people really like it). And while I have in the past bought lots of game material for the setting with no intention of ever running it in a game, I just couldn't justify doing the same for those at the time...
Hero Wars was the 1.0 version of the new rules. Heck, it was more like the 0.9 version. HeroQuest, the current version is slick and neat, and an actually playable game. In addition the book is nicely edited with nice art and lay-out. Quite a big difference.

I recommend getting the new core book. It has _a_lot_ of useful stuff even if you end up running your game with the new RQ.
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Postby Archer » Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:53 am

Adept: Thanks for the info on Dragonewts.


It seems that every race mentioned in this thread "are so alien that it can not be played", so I have to ask, what _can_ you play beyond humans?

When we did run RQ back in the 80s, we had mixed groups of PCs; Elves, dwarves, ducks, humans, trolls, etc. Perhaps it was because we had played a game before which had borrowed much from RQ (including much of its system and the ducks), but was generic fantasy in nature. We saw no problem with having a mixed group of PCs this way, at that time.

Now I am beginning to wonder if such groups are at all possible in Glorantha. Especially after having read the HeroQuest review on RPG.net stating that it is not possible in Glorantha.
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Postby Adept » Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:04 pm

Archer wrote: Thanks for the info on Dragonewts.

It seems that every race mentioned in this thread "are so alien that it can not be played", so I have to ask, what _can_ you play beyond humans?
In the RQ days we played everything. Aldryami (elves), Mostali (dwarves), Trolls, centaurs and ducks... oh and an ogre too. The dragonewts are the only thing that is not really suitable, and between a good GM and a skilled player even those could be a lot of fun to play.

Heck, the second age is the time of the EWF, so dragonewts will be important and humans can learn their secrets and turn into dragons themselves.

Some things work better as a source of mystery and wonder, instead of character templates with different bonuses for skills and stats.

In my later (current) Glorantha games the characters are humans, and the well detailed elder races are an endless source of inspiration for things in the game. One of the humans is a demigod child of Yinkin (a sort of a lynx-god) that shapeshifts to a large cat though.
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Postby Archer » Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:43 pm

Is your later campaigns the result of player wishes, or is it a result of the changes wrought upon Glorantha after RQ3?
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Postby SteveMND » Mon Jun 12, 2006 4:05 pm

Hero Wars was the 1.0 version of the new rules. Heck, it was more like the 0.9 version. HeroQuest, the current version is slick and neat, and an actually playable game. In addition the book is nicely edited with nice art and lay-out. Quite a big difference.
If the rule mechanics still use any variation on that whole 'narrative' system, no matter of slick graphics or nifty typesetting will get me interested. I'm just not a fan of that style of mechanics. :)
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Postby Adept » Mon Jun 12, 2006 4:32 pm

Archer wrote:Is your later campaigns the result of player wishes, or is it a result of the changes wrought upon Glorantha after RQ3?
It's the result of me maturing as a gamemaster from simple adventure gaming (killing stuff and exploring for loot and fame) to more complex themes. As more culture and world material came out I could take my game to more complex places.

The central theme in my campaign is the conflict between Sartar and Tarsh, and the coming Lunar invasion (the year is 1600 ST, so Sartar still stands). A significant thread is the awakening of some old EWF powers and how that will play out. The name of the campaign is "The Emperor and the Dragon".

My players seem to be very happy. They are playing minor heroes, marco-polo like traders and other such characters. Human characters who are deeply tied to their culture and the society around them, not just wondering warriors and mercenaries. One player actually run's a Lunar Polemarch (general) who is in charge of planning the full invasion of Sartar that will (propably) follow later.

The new campaign started to form before Hero Wars / Hero Quest, but I've been very happy with the wealth of new material that has come out in recent years.
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Postby Adept » Mon Jun 12, 2006 4:36 pm

SteveMND wrote:
Hero Wars was the 1.0 version of the new rules. Heck, it was more like the 0.9 version. HeroQuest, the current version is slick and neat, and an actually playable game. In addition the book is nicely edited with nice art and lay-out. Quite a big difference.
If the rule mechanics still use any variation on that whole 'narrative' system, no matter of slick graphics or nifty typesetting will get me interested. I'm just not a fan of that style of mechanics. :)
I ran my Glorantha now using a tweaked (2d6) version of Unisystem. I still buy every new HeroQuest book and get a lot of mileage out of them. They have a wealth of culture / setting material to use (hey, how about those Sartar culture books and the map & gazetteer?), and good advice how to run heroquests.

The cool thing about HeroQuest is that it's very rules-lite. That means you can use a different system (like RQ) and still get a lot of benefit from the books.

Parhaps I'll post my personal conversion between HQ / RQ here at some point.
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Postby Archer » Mon Jun 12, 2006 5:32 pm

Adept wrote:
Archer wrote:Is your later campaigns the result of player wishes, or is it a result of the changes wrought upon Glorantha after RQ3?
It's the result of me maturing as a gamemaster from simple adventure gaming (killing stuff and exploring for loot and fame) to more complex themes. As more culture and world material came out I could take my game to more complex places.
Ah, I understand. However, I have to say that maturing in your role-playing does not necessarily exclude non-human player characters. When I began playing RPGs '82, it was pretty much all non-human characters we played, and we looted, we hacked, we were heroes and we were villains. Then we discovered that it was intressting to run a campaign that dealed with trade nearly exclusively, and around that time we began to play only human characters. We immersed ourselves in the cultures of the particular settings we played in.
And eventually we went from playing merchants, to nobles, etc. Becomming more and more involved with the intriges and events in the higher parts of society in those campaign settings.
And so we played for perhaps five years.
Then I realized what a potential non-human characters have, as they are aspects of (or you could use the words reflections of) humanity, on some level. Not only that, they allowed me to take a completely new point of view (both on the setting and on humanity), and through that, could immerse myself in the non-human culture, and use my new point of view to good effect when it comes to making the game more intresting, complex, and entertaining.

As an example, I found it very intresting to play a Melnibonéan lord in our Stormbringer campaign. Unwillingly he has left the dragon isle, and is now forced to "explore" the human lands (basically he was cast out, but he is in denial). Though this is something he finds rather boring, his different viewpoints and rather odd character has added a lot of unusual intrigue to the campaign, not to mention tension to some diplomatic negotiations we did some scenarios back (he, as other Melnibonéans, see humans as inferior).

Another example is the dwarven bounty hunter I play in a WFRP campaign, that through the machinations of an old "friend" has become involved in the rivalry between two merchant families in Bogenhafen. This campaign has focused a lot on political intrigue, and the character I play is very out of his element in it, both due to his profession, and the fact that he is a dwarf that tend to see things in the simplest terms possible. This campaign feels very much shakespear-ian in nature, and reminds a lot of "The Merchant of Venice", in the dealings between the merchant houses (both are owned and run by noble families).

In both campaigns, the very fact that I am playing a non-human gives me a new perspective on the humans in the campaign, and as we in both campaigns are in their society, it both creates problems, opportunities, intrigues, and adds a whole new level of complexity to the role-playing experience.
Adept wrote: The central theme in my campaign is the conflict between Sartar and Tarsh, and the coming Lunar invasion (the year is 1600 ST, so Sartar still stands). A significant thread is the awakening of some old EWF powers and how that will play out. The name of the campaign is "The Emperor and the Dragon".

My players seem to be very happy. They are playing minor heroes, marco-polo like traders and other such characters. Human characters who are deeply tied to their culture and the society around them, not just wondering warriors and mercenaries. One player actually run's a Lunar Polemarch (general) who is in charge of planning the full invasion of Sartar that will (propably) follow later.

The new campaign started to form before Hero Wars / Hero Quest, but I've been very happy with the wealth of new material that has come out in recent years.
I run a very similar campaign at the moment in Legend of the Five Rings, during what is known as the Clan War. The players play members of the samurai caste (the nobility), and are very much involved in the intrigues and events that occur during this rather volatile time in the setting's history.
The only difference is that my player characters no longer are minor heroes. They have achieved fame, and status (well some have at least).

I find, just as you have, that such campaigns are more rewarding.

That said, what can you tell me of the second age of Glorantha. What is known? (assuming they will use what has been mentioned or written so far). What possibilities exist for running a campaign in such a style?
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Postby GbajiTheDeceiver » Mon Jun 12, 2006 6:00 pm

Here's a brief summary from http://www.glorantha.com/library/histor ... ml#history - there's lots more interesting stuff on there.
The Second Age (c.500-1100 S.T.)
Warfare between elves, trolls, and dwarves reduces those races.

c.500 S.T. - Establishment of the Empire of the Wyrms Friends and the beginning of their seduction by Dragon Powers.

c.800 S.T. - Birth of Pavis.

c.826 S.T. - Establishment of the Third Council to replace the Empire of the Wyrms Friends.

c.850 S.T. - Pavis brings the Faceless Statue of Stone to Prax and defeats Waha, thereby establishing his city (see the Cult of Pavis).

c.875 S.T. - The Arrowsmith dynasty of Pavis asks the Sun Dome Temple to settle in and near Pavis.

c.900 S.T. - Widespread dissatisfaction with the Third Council brings many rebels to the fore, including Jaldon Goldentooth of Prax.

1042 S.T. - The dragonewts turn on the Third Council, destroying their capital and leaders in Dragon Pass.

1100 S.T. - The Dragonkill War slays all humans in Dragon Pass and closes the area to settlement for over a century.

c.1200 S.T. - Trolls led by Gerak Kag invade Pavis and settle there.
I'm assuming about 875 would be a good time to run a game that isn't heavily combat-focussed - just inbetween the two bouts of bedlam.
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Postby Urox » Mon Jun 12, 2006 6:35 pm

Archer wrote:It seems that every race mentioned in this thread "are so alien that it can not be played", so I have to ask, what _can_ you play beyond humans?
One of the innovative features of the old RQ was that humans expressed tremendous diversity -- a Praxian Nomad is very different from an Orlanthi Hillman who is very different from a Dara Happan Farmer.
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Postby Archer » Mon Jun 12, 2006 7:29 pm

GbajiTheDeceiver: Thank you for that information and that link. Guess I will have to know more specific details before I start thinking about a campaign.

Urox:Very true, but every human culture, no matter how different, have a lot of common in that they still are human. If you take a human from 800AD France and place him in a room with a human from china 800AD, they still have enough common to be able to find a way to communicate, even though their cultures and languages are very different.
By playing a non-human character, you much easier can exagerate a certain aspect of their archetype (which on some level are based on a human culture or human psycholoy), and at the same time remove the elements it would have in common with a human. This brings a lot of new opportunities and complexity for intrigue, communication and other aspects of playing a character.
This is why aliens that are humanoid, but not human, works so well in science fiction. They bring a new perspective and a new point of view, while adding new intrigues and problems into the equation of interaction.
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Postby Urox » Mon Jun 12, 2006 7:55 pm

Archer wrote:Very true, but every human culture, no matter how different, have a lot of common in that they still are human. If you take a human from 800AD France and place him in a room with a human from china 800AD, they still have enough common to be able to find a way to communicate, even though their cultures and languages are very different.
There is a philosophical can of worms here -- can you really "know" something that is alien, or do we have to translate it into human iconography? (a cultural application of the Uncertainty principal).

That said, playing non-humans in Glorantha is quite fun, but it's not for novices. I think it works better if players experience the unique (i.e. non-Tolkein) demi-humans from the outside before fully exploring them from the inside.
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Postby SteveMND » Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:18 pm

That said, playing non-humans in Glorantha is quite fun, but it's not for novices. I think it works better if players experience the unique (i.e. non-Tolkein) demi-humans from the outside before fully exploring them from the inside.
I have to agree completely. When the alien becomes commonplace, it loses it's power and mystery. And having such an 'alien' fighting beside you, eating at your campfire or helping you tend to the horses is about as commonplace as you can get.

Having an elf, dwarf or troll in the party can all too often remove the sense of wonder, danger or mystery around dealing with those creatures. Your latest quest involves having to negotiate a pass through an elf-controlled wood? "Ah, no sweat, we got Thistledown the elf with us here; he can get us through."

Again, not to say that it can't be done, but I think doing so requires a pretty mature gaming group with a solid understanding of Glorantha to pull off properly, IMHO.
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Postby Archer » Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:34 pm

Urox wrote:
Archer wrote:Very true, but every human culture, no matter how different, have a lot of common in that they still are human. If you take a human from 800AD France and place him in a room with a human from china 800AD, they still have enough common to be able to find a way to communicate, even though their cultures and languages are very different.
There is a philosophical can of worms here -- can you really "know" something that is alien, or do we have to translate it into human iconography? (a cultural application of the Uncertainty principal).
I think you overinterpreted my last part of the post, with the word "alien" I was refering to non-humans in a science fiction setting. Much like Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.
I was trying to illustrate why in sci fi series there has been so many aliens that looks like humans, and really are just an aspect of humanity. It brings a new perspective, a new point of view, and introduces a lot of complexity.

And on that note, your comment are actually relevant.
First of all, yes, there is a potential can of worms here. And we could argue this until the sun dies, but that was not why I made the post. I made the post just to try and explain why it is not necessarily a bad thing to play non-human characters.

As for the relevancy of your comment about us knowing something that is "alien". By the very definition of the word, something alien is something that we know nothing about, so when we finally know everything about it, it is no longer alien. And there we have a can of worms (lets not open that).

So to get to the point; Trying to make non-human races so strange so bizarre that they woul become "alien" quickly becomes a moot point. They will always be an aspect of humanity. So why try to make them as extreme as possible when it comes to how they look (except to make them look "cool")? let them be in large part humans with pointy ears when it comes to appearance (changing the way they look rarely makes them more alien). Instead go to the core of their culture, their values, their views upon themselves, and how they view other races. There is where you can make fundamental changes that brings something new, something unique, and something entertaining to the setting.
But even here, it is also important to not go to extreme lengths, as it is easy to make something so bizarre (not alien, just bizarre) that no player would be able to identify with or relate to the race in question.
A good example would be having a player play a race that thinks like bees, or have the same view on the world as a dog.
The most reasonable way to handle non-human races, and their cultures, values, etc. are by using what they already are; an aspect of humanity, and in some ways tweak it slightly here and there to provide a new and unique perspective on something that is part of human nature.
And frankly, while they are somewhat boring due to lack of detail, some examples here are a Vulcans (star trek) that are an aspect of humanitys intellectual thirst for knowledge, and tolkiens elves which are our want for immortality, youth, and beauty.
This is where you begin with creating something that adds a new perspective on an aspect of humanity, and by developing it further to give more detail and flesh them out more (culture wise), you end up with a race that a player can identify with and relate to.

That is how aliens in science fiction are made, and that is how playable non-human races should be made in fantasy. But that of course, is just my point of view, and as always there are other perpectives. The method I have described is however, something that I know is used when creating aliens in sci fi movies and series.
(There is even litterature about the subject, but at the moment I can not remember any specific books to recommend).

That said, I really, really, hope that I have made myself clear now (I strongly suspect that I have not).
Urox wrote: That said, playing non-humans in Glorantha is quite fun, but it's not for novices. I think it works better if players experience the unique (i.e. non-Tolkein) demi-humans from the outside before fully exploring them from the inside.
After many years of playing RPGs, I think I can say that I do not think that playing even "humanlike" non-humans in any fantasy or science fiction setting are for novices. Novice players tend to play them because they look "cool", or have "cool" abilities.
But that is not really the strenght of using non-human races in a fantasy/science fiction setting in the first place. So I have to agree.
Would I start with a new group of players now, I would try to get them to start playing humans, and eventually start experiencing non-human characters as they become more mature role-players.
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Postby Adept » Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:43 pm

Archer wrote: The only difference is that my player characters no longer are minor heroes. They have achieved fame, and status (well some have at least).
Sorry, I should have used a cap there for Hero.

One is a demigod. A daughter of a god and a local Heroine. She is young but has immense potential. Another is a 13 year old child warrior. One of the Household of Death. Deciples of the god Humakt they have sworn terrible oaths and gained power to defend the land of Sartar at her desperate need. This thirteen year old has killed a (dream) dragon single handedly in a duel.

So minor Heroes, with the capital letter. The Glorantha thing.
Archer wrote: I find, just as you have, that such campaigns are more rewarding.

That said, what can you tell me of the second age of Glorantha. What is known? (assuming they will use what has been mentioned or written so far). What possibilities exist for running a campaign in such a style?
[first a reply to a different part of your post]
I basically agree about the nonhumans. The only difference, I guess, is that I like to keep the Gloranthan elder races as they are, and it's rather hard to imagine an elf or a dwarf involved in in the things going on in my game. Parhaps at some point it will be time to run a nonhuman campaign for Glorantha.

I do run a dark fantasy game based on the works of Leiber and Howard, called "Falling Down". The basic setting is modelled on Hyboria, but with tolkienesque (Silmarillion style) elves, dwarves (and for spice) gnomes thrown in. Rather a tribute to the old school RQ and D&D dungeon crawls and monster hunts. The characters are tough mercenary scoundrels lopping off heads of orcs and zombies in a very grim flavoured world. In that game there are eight player characters of which only two are human. I don't overlook the potential in the nonhumans, and the tolkienesque ones are easy to play. It's just that those are not the elves and dwarves of Glorantha, and I wouldn't want to try to shoehorn them in.

Right, back to your question. Second age Glorantha

In the broad lines the cultures are easy and familiar. The storm worshipping Hertlings (worshipping Orlanth & Ernalda), the Praxian nomads and the Solar worshippers of Dara Happa are all there.

The second age is the time of empires. Among the Heortlings a man has learned to speak the language of the dragonewts. He learned that they are eager to talk and very friendly, all of a sudden. A simple operation, splitting the brain and the tongue in two will open a human to the draconic perspective. The heortlings are changing. They are incorporating the worship of Orlanth (the king of the storm gods) with draconic teachings, and have started worshipping things like the Storm Dragon and the Sun Dragon. They have formed the Empire of the Wyrms Friends. According to the EWF everybody, even gods, has a dragon self inside him/her.

The other great power of the age are the Godlearners, and their Six Legged Empire (they brought the horse to places where such animals had never been seen). The Godlearners have learned radical new sorcery, and ways to change even the gods themselves and to mould the world to their whim (the EWF also want to create more dragons, and usher in a new draconic age).

The traditionalists are trying to fight back. Change is bad, and nothing good can come from the hubris of the empires. All sides have Heroes, as powerful individuals personify the hopes and dreams of entire peoples. Titanic rituals will change the world forever, and massive battles will spill the blood of whole generations.
.
.
.
I could go on. There's a huge lot of interesting stuff happening in the second age. I've often wondered why Greg didn't choose that as the time for RuneQuest. There is a wealth of magnificient Pavis material set in the second age. Basically a whole campaign ready and waiting. The rules are for HeroQuest, but conversion should be very easy for a seasoned gamemaster.
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On the Gloranthan nonhumans

Postby Adept » Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:54 pm

The saving grace with the gloranthan nonhumans is that they are only half alien. They still share the connection to the man rune (should be humanoid or people rune, I guess). Their motivations are different (sex, food and war may hold very different meanings, for instance), but they still feel emotions that are recognizably human. A gloranthan elf will feel fear, love, anger and sorrow. There's also enough material out there to get a handle on what makes him sad, and why.

That said, they are much more alien than mr. Spot or mr Worf. A human will have a hard time understanding why the timid and weak elf suddenly goes berserk to defend a tree from loggers, or the morbid pessimism of a huge and powerful troll warrior.

I love the work done on the gloranthan nonhumans, and my gamers (running humans) get a lot of sense of wonder from my efforts to do them justice.
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Postby andakitty » Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:26 pm

Adept, please DO go on. That's just the sort of info on the Second Age I've been hoping someone would supply on this board or elsewhere.

One question, anyway. Would there be any significant ruins from 1st age Glorantha?
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Re: On the Gloranthan nonhumans

Postby estarriol » Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:41 pm

Adept wrote:The saving grace with the gloranthan nonhumans is that they are only half alien. They still share the connection to the man rune (should be humanoid or people rune, I guess). Their motivations are different (sex, food and war may hold very different meanings, for instance), but they still feel emotions that are recognizably human. A gloranthan elf will feel fear, love, anger and sorrow. There's also enough material out there to get a handle on what makes him sad, and why.

That said, they are much more alien than mr. Spot or mr Worf. A human will have a hard time understanding why the timid and weak elf suddenly goes berserk to defend a tree from loggers, or the morbid pessimism of a huge and powerful troll warrior.

I love the work done on the gloranthan nonhumans, and my gamers (running humans) get a lot of sense of wonder from my efforts to do them justice.
One of the ways to keep them fresh my group did, and we have been playing RQ for 23 or so years, was to define the campaign that one or two of the major races was forbidden to players. This means they can be major npc and do weird stuff etc, without the group having the get out of jail card of one of there races. The current campaign is set in NW Sarter on the Prax edges with a group of Humackti but no trolls allowed.
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Postby Archer » Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:31 pm

Adept wrote:
Archer wrote: The only difference is that my player characters no longer are minor heroes. They have achieved fame, and status (well some have at least).
Sorry, I should have used a cap there for Hero.

One is a demigod. A daughter of a god and a local Heroine. She is young but has immense potential. Another is a 13 year old child warrior. One of the Household of Death. Deciples of the god Humakt they have sworn terrible oaths and gained power to defend the land of Sartar at her desperate need. This thirteen year old has killed a (dream) dragon single handedly in a duel.

So minor Heroes, with the capital letter. The Glorantha thing.
:shock:
That was quite a bit higher on the scale that I would have guessed. Still, the important part is that they are very involved in the events of the setting.
Adept wrote:
Archer wrote: I find, just as you have, that such campaigns are more rewarding.

That said, what can you tell me of the second age of Glorantha. What is known? (assuming they will use what has been mentioned or written so far). What possibilities exist for running a campaign in such a style?
[first a reply to a different part of your post]
I basically agree about the nonhumans. The only difference, I guess, is that I like to keep the Gloranthan elder races as they are, and it's rather hard to imagine an elf or a dwarf involved in in the things going on in my game. Parhaps at some point it will be time to run a nonhuman campaign for Glorantha.
No wrong with running a human only campaign. I just wanted to point out, that just because you have reached that stage in your role-playing, there is still possibilities with non-humans.
It was meant as a friendly advice, food for thought, not as an insult to the way you play your campaign.
Adept wrote: I do run a dark fantasy game based on the works of Leiber and Howard, called "Falling Down". The basic setting is modelled on Hyboria, but with tolkienesque (Silmarillion style) elves, dwarves (and for spice) gnomes thrown in. Rather a tribute to the old school RQ and D&D dungeon crawls and monster hunts. The characters are tough mercenary scoundrels lopping off heads of orcs and zombies in a very grim flavoured world. In that game there are eight player characters of which only two are human. I don't overlook the potential in the nonhumans, and the tolkienesque ones are easy to play. It's just that those are not the elves and dwarves of Glorantha, and I wouldn't want to try to shoehorn them in.
Each is free to his own choice.
I can not wait to get my hands on RQ Rulebook and the Glorantha setting books, to finally get confirmation on what mongoose has done with it.... :mrgreen:
Adept wrote: Right, back to your question. Second age Glorantha

In the broad lines the cultures are easy and familiar. The storm worshipping Hertlings (worshipping Orlanth & Ernalda), the Praxian nomads and the Solar worshippers of Dara Happa are all there.

The second age is the time of empires. Among the Heortlings a man has learned to speak the language of the dragonewts. He learned that they are eager to talk and very friendly, all of a sudden. A simple operation, splitting the brain and the tongue in two will open a human to the draconic perspective. The heortlings are changing. They are incorporating the worship of Orlanth (the king of the storm gods) with draconic teachings, and have started worshipping things like the Storm Dragon and the Sun Dragon. They have formed the Empire of the Wyrms Friends. According to the EWF everybody, even gods, has a dragon self inside him/her.

The other great power of the age are the Godlearners, and their Six Legged Empire (they brought the horse to places where such animals had never been seen). The Godlearners have learned radical new sorcery, and ways to change even the gods themselves and to mould the world to their whim (the EWF also want to create more dragons, and usher in a new draconic age).

The traditionalists are trying to fight back. Change is bad, and nothing good can come from the hubris of the empires. All sides have Heroes, as powerful individuals personify the hopes and dreams of entire peoples. Titanic rituals will change the world forever, and massive battles will spill the blood of whole generations.
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I could go on. There's a huge lot of interesting stuff happening in the second age. I've often wondered why Greg didn't choose that as the time for RuneQuest. There is a wealth of magnificient Pavis material set in the second age. Basically a whole campaign ready and waiting. The rules are for HeroQuest, but conversion should be very easy for a seasoned gamemaster.
Hmm, it certainly sounds like it has a lot of potential for a campaign filled with intrigue, plots, and the chance of participate in historical events. Sounds very fun.
I love Empires, that is one thing for sure. They open up so many possibilities, and with several empires on the go, we have a very intressting situation.

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