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.

The City of Serris

Behold, here is the full colour map of Serris, by Xavier Llobet who also did the full page illustrations for Gloranthan Adventures 2 Red Sun Rising.

Ma of the city of Serris, by Xavier Llobet

Map of the city of Serris, by Xavier Llobet

This is one of my favourite bits of art that Xavier did. In fact its the piece that hangs together the whole book, since three out of the four scenarios are set there. In many ways the scenario arc is on one level the story of the city.  That’s were I put the mythic resonances, the city God (also called Serris) is the God of Builders (and a non-cannonical son of the Dara Happan Earth God Lodril), and through his priesthood is able to rebuild the city if it is damaged. This has happened many times during history, including when the Lunar Empire seized the city from Camarian invaders. I’ll stop there lest I give more away 😉

It’s a city of two halves and Xavier pretty much nailed with extreme detail the differences between the highly organised and regimented Dara Happan Old City and the chaotic and disorganised Lunar New City in this map.  The Old City is the city that Serris the Builder created for his mortal apprentices. It has aqueducts, bridges, a street layout that is in accordance with Yelm’s Four Sacred Directions, and towering white stone walls. Its a rigourously planned city, were very little has changed over time. The New City, or Moonie town as it is populary known, has grown from a city of tents from the lunar invaders, to a sprawling mess, where twisting labyrine streets circle around the major buildings, such as the Red Moon Temple and the Lunar Circus.  It clings limpet like to the southern walls of the Old City, whose Dara Happan residents who belong to to families who have dwelt in the city since before time began say to the new Lunars “you stay out, you don’t belong here!”   If they Lunars feel any resentment, they keep it to themselves. Maybe its because they believe that eventually the Lunar Way will absorb even the most hardline Solar Worshiper and this will see the gates of the Old City flung open to mob of the Red Goddess?

Go grab a copy or read more about it.

Or

 

Big Gloranthan publishing day!

Cover by Jon Hodgson

Cover by Jon Hodgson

After a couple of years of inactivity, D101 Games presents not one but three Gloranthan Fan titles.

Hearts in Gloranthan vol1 Collected. This is 280 pages of the first five issues of Hearts in Glorantha (HiG), a fanzine dedicated to Greg Stafford’s mythic fantasy world of Glorantha, that were published between 2008-2012. The original articles, which cover setting information, creature write ups, adventures, homelands ,fiction, and rules guidance for both HeroQuest and RuneQuest, has been tidied up and 22 pages of new material about the Balkoth Tribe of Sartar has been added exclusively to this collection. Features articles on the Lunars, Chaos, Oceans and Seas, Sartar, Dragonewts, Dwarves & Ducks??!?!

Gloranthan Adventures 2 Red Sun Rising. A complete mini-campaign set in the Lunar Dara Happan city of Serris, a tough independent city which lies in the shadow of the Red Moon. Although written for HeroQuest it has converstion guidelines for RuneQuest.

OpenQuest Adventures. This book is an eighty page collection of scenarios and articles designed to show how OpenQuest can be used for different flavours of fantasy gaming. Within its pages you’ll be able to visit Ancient Rome, enjoy a short dungeon crawl, experience the horrors of a small hell and even the joys of the original D100 adventure setting Glorantha!

Also Gloranthan Adventures 1: New Beginnings is now available in print via DriveThruRpg.com for the first time.

Go grab them at these following outlets

Hearts in Glorantha Death & Resurrection Show pt2

Ok….even though we are many days past Resurrection Day now, here’s the Good News about Hearts in Glorantha.

First off I’ve collected the first 5 issues into a Hearts in Glorantha Vol 1, issues 1-5 Collected. Coming in at 280 pages its a behemoth of a book that I’ve spent the good part of a year putting together. In addition to the old material cleaned up , and organised by subject (so all the Lunar stuff we published is in one block for example), there’s also 22 pages of new material about The Balkoth Tribe – a complete playable Sartarite Tribal Confederation by the esteemed Dr Moose. Here’s the cover by Jon Hodgson.

HinG-collected-web

The overall aim of the collected edition is to gather up the significant chunk of fan output from the 2000s-mid 2010s in one place and make it easily available to people who’ve just found it, without them having to pay stupid collector’s prices in the future. The reason why it’s called Volume 1 is…..

…Hearts in Glorantha is coming back! Its been on hiatus the last couple of years while I’ve been doing other D101 Games projects as well as catching up with all the changes that The Guide to Glorantha brings to the table, but with the imminent publication of HeroQuest Glorantha, and 13th Age Glorantha and RuneQuest Adventures in Glorantha, I feel the time is right. After HiG Vol 1 Collected is out I’ll publish new submission guidelines for Vol 2 and talk about the new format of the ‘zine in more detail.

Finally Gloranthan Adventures #2 Red Sun Rising is going through its final checks and should be out in time for UK Games Expo at the end of May.

Also appearing in time for UK Games Expo in May is OpenQuest Adventures, a quick collection of 4 adventures including Tomb of the Empty Emperor that appeared in HiG#3 but isn’t going to in HiG Collected and an article by Simon Bray who regularly uses OQ to run his Gloranthan Games entiled “Gloranthan Runes for OpenQuest”, which covers how to use run Gloranthan Magic using OpenQuest.

openQuest-adventures-web