Glorantha campaign details which are notably absent.

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Draconis13
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Glorantha campaign details which are notably absent.

Postby Draconis13 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:27 pm

I have been running a MRQ Glorantha campaign for about 6 sessions now. In running my game I have been finding a lot of important materials which arent ruled into this set or have the rules merely glossed over.

I was wondering what house ruling or older edition retrofits you use. As a new player(and gamemaster) I was largely ignorant of a lot of the older rules but was able to pick up a fair amount of older books off ebay and such.

First thing is metals, especially iron the new rules have something about a negative to your magic points for each enc of raw iron carried. I am using the old rule of 5% magic resist/fail in place of this as it seems like iron was meant to defend against magic in addition to suppressing it. Aluminum apparently does not inhibit movement in water meaning its suited to aquatic races or adventures. While lead doesnt impede stealth skills as the darkness metal absorbs light and noise.

Languages, The MRQ books merely go into how everyone has 50% native language but does not go into which ones are present in Glorantha. Thankfully Cragspiders lair had a huge listing of this I printed out for use in game.

Truestone and Adamant are pretty much missing. I found out truestone has this amazingly interesting ability to store divine magic but only what was cast into it the first time. from what little I have seen of Adamant I am assuming its something like AP 20, HP unbreakable. Truestone also looks like its really big in the setting from "The Travels of Biturian Varosh"

I solved the physical rune problem in my campaign by merely allowing each runecasting rune a trainable advanced skill that can cast all runes associated with it. Cults allow you to cast cult spells outside of the usual restrictions. Such as Orlanth Adventurous allows you to cast Bladesharp tied to the mastery runecasting skill rather then metal or skybolt to air rather then chaos. Shamens can make charms off the runecasting they know and sacrifice pow for the runic power.

Gloranthan calendar. Being new to the setting I had absolutely no clue as to how this was arranged. Thankfully I found http://www.soltakss.com/calendar.html which cleared that right up. It also gave me a guide to when exactly holy days and events happen on.

This kind of information is pretty critical to running a campaign when it says acolytes must spend X amount of time at the temple and attend certain high holy days. Not having cult high holydays in the Cults of glorantha book was shocking too me with how much emphasis is place on actually having to spend time at the temple attending events.

The biggest problem I have actually had so far is stating out NPC's in such a magic heavy setting. I can easily throw together various fodder such as trollkin or bandits but actual foes with runecasting or sorcery is making my head spin. I realized also that many minor foes would have access to folk magic as well (thanks Clan-tula)

On the flip side making magical or normal treasures in this system is just fantastic using the rules detailed in the companion and arms and equipment. I can design a non magical suit of armor that is actually somewhat unique and interesting, normal by the book platemail being sort of a hoplite armor but exquisite platemail that is bastion and bulkwark starts coming closer to the field plate of knightly orders.

Herbs and plants, ??? I have seen some stuff but its more of a formula to make something up that does this.

Non Lethal damage in combat I may of missed something here but it seems like its made to force use of grapple or lassos.

I would really welcome any input in regards to this cause A lot of my campaign has been sort of a testing ground to try and build up a solid base from which to play from. As well as trying to acclimate to the myth and magic of the setting.
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Re: Glorantha campaign details which are notably absent.

Postby Deleriad » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:14 am

I can suggest some things based on running a MRQ Glorantha for 18 months now. I do have an AP thread for blood of Orlanth elsewhere on the board though that's low on crunch.
Draconis13 wrote: First thing is metals, especially iron the new rules have something about a negative to your magic points for each enc of raw iron carried. I am using the old rule of 5% magic resist/fail in place of this as it seems like iron was meant to defend against magic in addition to suppressing it. Aluminum apparently does not inhibit movement in water meaning its suited to aquatic races or adventures. While lead doesnt impede stealth skills as the darkness metal absorbs light and noise.
A lot of the old rune metal rules come from a sort of D&D mentality (armour upgrade) that I tend to gloss over. My recent campaigns haven't featured "raw" Iron so I've not needed to worry about it.
Draconis13 wrote: Truestone and Adamant are pretty much missing. I found out truestone has this amazingly interesting ability to store divine magic but only what was cast into it the first time. from what little I have seen of Adamant I am assuming its something like AP 20, HP unbreakable. Truestone also looks like its really big in the setting from "The Travels of Biturian Varosh"
Again, Truestone and Adamant is from an era when all PCs ran around with multiple magic doodads and, in my Glorantha, is vanishingly rare. For the record, I give enchanted Iron (and by analogy adamantine) items the same APs and HPs as bronze items but simply rule that it can't be broken by non-iron items. E.g. If you have an iron broadsword it doesn't magically make you able to block more damage from a giant's club so increasing a broadsword's APs doesn't really work.

Also Truestone doesn't really work that well with how Divine Magic works now and I'm happy to leave that be and see what happens with RQII next year.
Draconis13 wrote: I solved the physical rune problem in my campaign by merely allowing each runecasting rune a trainable advanced skill that can cast all runes associated with it. Cults allow you to cast cult spells outside of the usual restrictions. Such as Orlanth Adventurous allows you to cast Bladesharp tied to the mastery runecasting skill rather then metal or skybolt to air rather then chaos. Shamens can make charms off the runecasting they know and sacrifice pow for the runic power.
That's a pretty common house rule for Glorantha. I used to use it but have recently gone to a more HeroQuest like approach where your runecasting skill with a rune affects personality, actions and so on and can also be used as a non-magical skill.
Draconis13 wrote: Gloranthan calendar. Being new to the setting I had absolutely no clue as to how this was arranged. Thankfully I found http://www.soltakss.com/calendar.html which cleared that right up. It also gave me a guide to when exactly holy days and events happen on.
Well that kind of information, realistically, changes from place to place and over time. Holy days themselves are dictated by local issues as much as anything else. To be honest, that's the kind of thing you're better off making work for yourself and your own campaign needs.
Draconis13 wrote: The biggest problem I have actually had so far is stating out NPC's in such a magic heavy setting. I can easily throw together various fodder such as trollkin or bandits but actual foes with runecasting or sorcery is making my head spin. I realized also that many minor foes would have access to folk magic as well (thanks Clan-tula)
Actually I work on the basis that magic may be common but is mostly weak and inconsequential in game terms. The older versions of RQ where every NPC came with 10 points of Battle Magic stopped me running Glorantha for years. I figure that most Gloranthan natives know a few charms and rituals that feel like they help with their every day life and then go to ceremonies where they feel the presence of their gods but other than that they rely on well made tools, experience and hard work. In game terms, I figure that the effect of this magic is smaller than the random variance in skill and damage rolls.

My particular bug bear is healing magic. I don't like the prevalence of cheap, effective healing magic.

In game terms for me that means an NPC has either 0, 1 or 2 rune magic spells depending on how important they are. They may also have 1 or 2 divine magic spells if they are dedicated enough to have sacrificed for them.

E.g. this is part of a stat block for a duck magician from the Billhook Brotherhood and 1 from a novice of the same group. Based on Blood of Orlanth but severely house-ruled.

Novice
Runes: Water 35%: Breathe Water 1

Kakeel Sallow Eye
Runes
Magic 62%: Befuddle 2; Dispel Magic 1,4; Second Sight 2
Water 52%: Breathe Water 1,4; Extinguish 1, Shimmer 2
Healing Stick 52%: Heal 1,4.
Ring of Protection 42%: Protection 2,4.

Draconis13 wrote: Non Lethal damage in combat I may of missed something here but it seems like its made to force use of grapple or lassos.
Non-lethal damage doesn't exist. Damage is damage basically. To knock someone out you knock their head down to -1 HP. Note however that actually killing someone with unarmed combat takes a long time and recovery from wounds is relatively quick. Basic process is
go to negative HPs in head, fall unconscious. Wake up sometime later. Have splitting headaches on and off until HPs in head reach zero. Lack of general HPs mean that having a bad headache doesn't accidentally kill you if someone stabs you in the stomach later on.

Still and all, it's frustrating that MRQ has so many different bits that don't fit together. Hopefully the new edition will fix that. Mongoose seem to have got their act together with Traveller so I have hope.
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Postby weasel_fierce » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:28 am

I actually rather agree with the lack of "non lethal damage". There is no such thing in the real world. There's blows that propably won't kill you, and there's blows that very well might.
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Postby Draconis13 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:37 am

Love the amount of feedback I got on this thank you. Definitely helps get my head around some of the concepts in game. Especially references to the rune metals and truestone. With so much of this stuff just missing I wasn't sure if it had been merely omitted or changed.

We also have tried out several diffrent types of improvement rolls and experience. Stock MRQ was frustrating due to having points then having them possibly give you very little increase. Tried running a variation of the skill check which was slightly unpopular.

Now we are running with Cragspiders lairs rule with the spent points not needing to be rolled on which works out fairly well and I do not see players trying to drop them all into one weapon skill.

One big change we are going to try out is the fact shields being a seperate weapon skill suffer when sword and board fighters should be easier to block with then hack and slash double wielders

My thoughts were to have it advance whenever a 1 handed axe, sword , flail or hammer skill increased with the possiblity of increasing faster if it alone was trained.

I however come to the same problem of language that it seems like more of the group will end up literate if the skill is increased faster. I have tried a three times increase on language skill to see how useful it will be to have them pick up new languages or become literate at start 10 free points versus 30.

Been wondering if I should just make it an advanced skill capped by your language skill possibly adding its critical as a bonus to certain lore or possibly arcane skills.

Still wondering about what to make of the whole armor penalty thing, I went through several different systems myself that we tested out.

First was just a straight up halving of the skill penalty total. Is passable and sorta works out ok.

Second was an abstract majority rules where you tally up all 7 hit locations and use the highest skill penalty of the majority of your armor that went something like -5 for 1-2 AP, -10 for 3-4 AP and finally -15 or 20 for 5-6 AP
With higher AP armors counting as the next lowest bracket.

Finally we are trying out the Fatigue only rule where your skill penalties come from being exhausted from wearing it.

Also had anyone else come up with any house rules like these to cover some of the more esoteric aspects of the game?
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Postby RosenMcStern » Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:05 pm

I suggest that you just pre-order the new rules and have a look at them. Certainly, this is all stuff that Loz must have addressed in the book. In the meanwhile, you can use Cults and Guilds as a guideline for an improved version of the rules.

Some questions, like metals, are exquisitely Gloranthan and so they must wait for the new Guide that will come out later than January. But some effects depend on game mechanics (APs, etc.) so even using what is in the old supplements might not work as intended in the current or revised rules. Adamant is rare, I usually allow this only during major heroquests. You can wait for the end of your campaign before introducing it.
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Postby Deleriad » Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:08 pm

Draconis13 wrote: We also have tried out several diffrent types of improvement rolls and experience. Stock MRQ was frustrating due to having points then having them possibly give you very little increase. Tried running a variation of the skill check which was slightly unpopular.
I actually give out Improvement Rolls more often: usually around 3 at the end of most sessions. Remember as well that an IR always gets you between +1-5%, just the average increase reduces as your skill increases.

Another possibility is to increase the number of IRs needed to increase a skill with no need to roll for it. e.g. 1-50% costs 1IR; 51-100% costs 2IRs; 101-150% costs 3IRs etc. So if someone's skill is 75% then spending 2IRs lets them get 1D4+1% increase. It all works out pretty much the same in the long run.
Draconis13 wrote: One big change we are going to try out is the fact shields being a seperate weapon skill suffer when sword and board fighters should be easier to block with then hack and slash double wielders.
One common house rule is to have something like combat skills which include both weapons at once. e.g. a sword and shield skill which is a single skill covering using both weapons at once. It does have some quirks (e.g. saw you have axe/shield and sword/shield then you skill with a shield depends on what is in your other hand which could be odd if you have nothing in your other hand).

Draconis13 wrote: I however come to the same problem of language that it seems like more of the group will end up literate if the skill is increased faster. I have tried a three times increase on language skill to see how useful it will be to have them pick up new languages or become literate at start 10 free points versus 30.
I use literacy (language)% as an advance skill because it is my understanding that literacy is not widespread in Glorantha. You kind of have to make it work on a case by case basis. E.g. in literate societies the ability to read and write should be included as part of the competency.


Draconis13 wrote: Still wondering about what to make of the whole armor penalty thing, I went through several different systems myself that we tested out.
Probably about the most derided rule in MRQ. Given the competition that's saying something. I personally use a simpler ENC-based system.

If you are carrying ENC equal to or less than your STR then no effect.
ENC greater than STR but equal to or less than STR+SIZ = loaded.
More than that: overloaded.

Loaded: -1 SR, -1 Movement and -10% to physical, magical and stealth skills.
Overloaded: -2 SR, -2 Move and -20%.

It's a bit coarse but it gives a simple way for players to figure out what kind of penalty they're willing to pay for protection. The effects do stack with Fatigue penalties.
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Postby weasel_fierce » Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:51 pm

we've played it as half penalty for armour and that works alright
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Postby Draconis13 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:10 pm

Yeah adamant is definitely reserved for extremely late in the campaign. The thing that gets me though is how things like this are sorta left to the games master as work should they ever want to introduce the materials. Instead of having built something into the framework of the game which you could use as a baseline and still of course change on a whim.

This sorta of vague interpretation is what kind of soured my view of the Ruins of Glorantha book to me. While providing quite a bit of history and fluff as to how to build a ruin. It was mostly random tables or paragraph descriptions of famous dungeons. Though with several really fleshed out ones. Still not a bad book by any means but its less of a tool set full of parts to build off of and more of a how to guide to make a dungeon you created Gloranthan.

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