Simplifying not dumbing down

So I’m preparing my pitch for the 7 Hills Convention in April, where I’m going to unleash my mega-adventure for HeroQuest Glorantha upon 4-6 players.  Even if the players are familiar with Glorantha I want it to be mega-fun rather than mega-complicated, because even with a four hour slot I’m not cramming in 16 hours + of my home campaign (with all its plot twists and stuff that my players have painstakingly built up), I’m creating a sandbox with story seeds and plot threads that the players can pick up and have fun with.

So with this in mind I launched into writing my pitch. I came up with two versions, a long pitch (approx 300 words) and short pitch (approx 200 words).

Long pitch

At the Dawn the land of Karia was made the Centre of all the World’s Religions by Nysalor the the New Sun. Here this glorious mortal-made God created a special temple to celebrate the mystries of the five elements – Water, Air, Darkness, Earth and Fire. When Nysalor betrayed his worshipers and all creation by revealing himself to be the chaos God Gbaji the Deceiver, the hero Arkat Chaosbane revealed the Temple of the Elements’ true purpose ad been created to enslave the elements and channel the worshipers magical energy to Nyslor himself. Then Arkat and his armies destroyed the Temple and ravished Karia, suppressing many vile chaos cults in the process. Arkat would finally forsake his human form to take on that of a Troll to defeat Gbaji in the far off land of Dorestor. Even when he returned to the west as a human to establish his Dark Empire, Karia remained silent and haunted by the destruction he had wrought there.

Now in the Third Age, King Aruzban Ironarm of neighbouring Delela has declared the old Undying curse of Arkat broken by his hand, and that life has truely returned in its fullness to Karia. He has encouraged his tribesmen to inhabit the land, of which they have taken the lower third. Heretics from the Duchy of Naskorion to the west have also settled in the land, as have Trolls from the Queendom of Halikiv. An uneasy peace exists amongst these traditional enemies, and its focus is the city of Watcharkat. Here a group of followers of the various faces of Arkat, who call themselves Arkat’s Council, watch for the re-emergence of old magical enemies. Their mystics foretell the rediscovery of the temple saying in the present “one day the Five Pillared Temple of the Elements will be discovered and there in the sacred precincts Gbaji will be arisen”.

I wrote the long pitch almost automatically, straightout of my head which is crammed with 30 odd years of Gloranthan knowledge. I sat down to revise it and realised that it was confusing even to me, and instead wrote the second Short pitch.

Short pitch

In the time of the Dawn there was a powerful temple in the land of Karia, called the Temple of the Elements. It was a peaceful place where followers of the man-made god Nyalsor the New Sun, contemplated the mystic energies of the five elements – Fire, Earth, Air, Water and Darkness – that had created their god.

Then the god-slayer Arkat, came with his armies from the West. He said the temple filled with falsehoods, their peaceful meditation were merely studies in enslavement and Nysalor was actually an evil god of Chaos called “Gbaji the Deceiver”. He destroyed the temple and slaughtered its worshipers. Since the five pillars of the temple were created by a god and beyond his means to smash, he buried them.

It is now the Third Age and Karia is being gradually resettled by people from neighbouring lands. In the city of WatchArkat the Council of Arkat, a group of powerful monster hunters, live in plain sight amongst their enemies in an uneasy truce. Only they know the prophecy

“One day the Five Pillared Temple of the Elements will be discovered and there in its sacred precincts Gbaji will be arisen”.

This is the pitch I’m going with. Not only is it quicker to read, which is important since folk will either be reading it on the website (always write at least 25% less for the web) or quickly on the signup sheet on the day. The first pitch falls into the trap that it mentions too much that is really out side the scope of what I should be telling folk in an introduction. Its contains detailed background information that the players may never even discover in game (although I’m now intent on putting in King Aruzban Ironarm with his Troll crushing arms in the scenario some how). Its the sort of show off info-dump that I might show to a fellow Glorantha-phile in the vain hope of impressing them. Pitch 2 is mega-complicated while Pitch 1 is more mega-fun. It sets the scene of the Temple and its importance in the fight of Nysalor vs Arkat, and its link to the horror god Gbaji both past and present. Best of all it points out the player characters are “a group of powerful monster hunters” :).

Glorantha is Go!

Quick update on where I’m up to with D101’s Gloranthan efforts at the beginning of 2016.

Gloranthan Adventures #3 Defenders of the Dark slipped, in the face of all the work I had to do around Crypts & Things (which is now a huge and mysterious thing). Good news is the text is ready to proof by a dedicated proofer and the art is commissioned.

Hearts in Glorantha #6 (aka Vol 2 issue 1) didn’t take off as I planned. It seems that I’m back at the stage where I was with issue 1, where I have to build up a bull pen of regular writers. This means I’ve moved my adventure Dead Man’s Scrolls from GA#3 (which makes sense since it makes that book an all UZ book) into HiG#6. Fortunately HiG regulars Stewart Standsfield is  back with a series of Caladraland articles while Jane Williams is working on an adventure.

I’m still looking for submissions for Hearts in Glorantha #6 so if you are interested please get in touch at newt@d101games.com.

Gloranthan Adventures #4 is already on the cards. This is going to be a mega-adventure set in the land of Karia, an area in the East Wilds haunted by the legacy of Nysalor and Arkat. I plan to have this in a playable form by 7 Hills in April and be able to offer it at UK Games Expo and Continuum later in the year.

I had feared that the Gloranthan flame had gone out here at D101, due to huge work pressures of our other game lines,  but after a bit of refocusing we’re back up and running. No idea when these books will be out (C&T dominates our release schedule because its a Kickstarter in fullfillment) but I hope to have something out by UK Games Expo, were we will be on a stall behind our friends at Chaosium 🙂

If you are interested in helping out with HiG or GA, please get in touch at newt@d101games.com.

Mega Gloranthan Fun at 7 Hills

I’ll be running this at 7 Hills in Sheffield 18-19th April.

Name of the game: The City of Ironsmash
System: HeroQuest
Game Slot: 4 (Sunday Morning)
Number of Players: 6
Game Description:

The long lived Trolls of the Queendom of Halikiv have deep memories.

They remember the Gbjai Wars of the Dawn Age. How the men of light came out of the east over the mountains. How they conspired with Dwarfs and build a Forge-City on the Queendom’s borders, spawning iron armed and armoured warriors. If the Night Queen herself had not sent her son Arkat Kingtroll to lead the Black Legions against the city, how the Queendom would have been exterminated. Instead it was the Trolls who did the extermination and how the city is named after their deeds there. Happy memories of victory in the City of Ironsmash.
Now the storm scum are back in dark Halkiv and a small band of Black Legionaries travel to the city of Blackrock to ask for reinforcements from the Great Hag of the city. For they fear the forges of Ironsmash have been seized and once again good Troll hunting lands are threatened.

This is a big straightforward war story of Troll Warriors getting their Darkness on to trash Human barbarians. It requires no knowledge of the system or Glorantha. All will be gently introduced in an entertaining way over the course of the adventure. A Mega Gloranthan Fun game, so no basket weaving, sheep herding or anthropological discussions, only big fun adventure !

Tags: Glorantha , Trolls, Steel, Mega Gloranthan Fun!

If you can’t make it to the con, don’t worry this will be the main scenario in Gloranthan Adventures #3 out later this year 🙂

If you can make it to the con, there’s still places yet.