I seem to be on sort of a break as far as running Glorantha is concerned. I think that’s due in part to me being busy writing other D101 Stuff (Crypts & Things esp) over the last six months, and I’m still taking in the sheer breath and depth of material in the Guide and the new HeroQuest Glorantha books.
Instead I’ve taken the opportunity to play in some games using very different systems from what I’m used to (HQ/RQ).
First off is Evil Gaz’s Savage Glorantha. Evil Gaz is one of the infamous Smart Party, a group of friends who collectively run convention games at UK cons, and now courtesy of Gaz and his mate Baz have a rather excellent pod cast “What Would the Smart Party Do?”. Now Gaz is a big fan of Glorantha from the RQ2 days, and the more direct play style of those days, before all the navel gazing mythological stuff that came after it. Savage Worlds is his go to system so he’s running a game using the old RQ2 Classics material specifically Borderlands and Beyond (I’m not paying too much attention to it, because its been long enough for me to remember the outlines but not the details which would spoil the game for me ) as the setting/adventure and Savage Worlds as the system. The conversion is very quick and on the fly but he’s paid enough attention so that RQ2’s magic systems (Battle and ]Divine) are in it, and the advantages and disadvantages (which do the main heavy lifting to make sure that one Fighter isn’t like another Fighter) make the characters fell Gloranthan. He’s running the game via quick two hour Google Hangouts sessions, and apart from myself the other three players are all new to Glorantha. Character gen was basically a suggest a concept to Gaz and he came up with a character. I pitched Morgan “Short beard” Gonch a rather adventurous Lankor Mhy student with a short scruffy beard, whose been taught a bit of swordplay by his local Humakti swordmaster, and is on an ongoing quest in Pavis/Prax to recover magical knowledge stolen by the villainous Lunars. This quest had lead to his capture by the Seven Mothers, and drafted into the service of Duke Raus, a local Lunar Noble with an estate out in the Praxian wastes. I was joining the rest of the party , a group comprising of a Humakti, Stormbull and an Orlanthi, a couple of adventures in, and the opening scene was literally Morgan walking up to the campfire, making introductions before the group set off to continue their patrol of Duke Raus’ ‘Grant Lands’. We encountered an ancient tower, with the sounds of squealing pigs. The Stormbull decided to charge his Rhino into the stone double doors to gain entry, and away we went. Given the nature of adventure, what followed was a tense two hour grindfest, but both Gaz and the other players kept it going a pace so that it never dragged or got boring. Savage Worlds worked well as the system for representing Glorantha. On one hand if you just swing your sword and hope for the best, its like RQ right down to its fragility of characters. However once you start spending ‘bennies’ (Savage’s equivalent of Hero/Fate points) or using the special combat moves, where you have to give an explanation of how you are pushing it, the game suddenly felt heroic, and up there with HeroQuest for that side of things. It was the best of both worlds. The adventure saw my wet behind the ears academic handle himself with enough bravery to be accepted into the group of warriors 🙂
The second Gloranthan game I played with a different system was Guy Milner’s 13th Age Glorantha game at Furnace just gone. I can’t go into to much detail about it, because the playtest packet is currently under NDA, but I can say that the game was a resounding success, despite my misgivings that as basically being a D20/D&D derived game (with a heavy dose of Narrativism). Like the Savage Worlds game, the basic rules played Glorantha to the system’s strengths, so it was all Class with Level based goodness that any player familiar with the World’s Favorite Roleplaying game in its D20 variant glory (feats although straightforward are still a big thing as push-button powers in combat). 13th Age’s Narrative elements really shone through in letting each character have their moment in the spot light and the use of the Runes (like HQ Glorantha each character has three to start with) within that framework (rather than the more rulesy Feats) was inspired, and allowed us to excitingly deal with situations within the game quickly and colourfully which might have otherwise been reduced to a series of bland dice roles. This alongside 13th Ages “One Unique Thing” really highlighted that even at 1st Level our characters where Gloranthan Heroes and Heroines 🙂